American Craft Beer Week is an entire week dedicated to the beer, the people and the craft of the brewing industry. Cities around the country planned special tappings, beer pairing events and other shenanigans to celebrate. Here inColorado, it was also declared Colorado Craft Beer Week. I was expecting the typical events here inFort Collins, like the ones that happened last year, but the brewers this year surprised everyone with some unique, fun events.
New this year was Brewery Bingo, organized by Aaron Heaton of Grimm Brothers Brewhouse. 10 Northern Coloradobreweries participated, filling in the squares on the 6×6 bingo card with their brews. The objective was to create a bingo by drinking a row of beers on the card. Once a bingo is made, you received a free t-shirt from GoWest, a local screen printing company, who made the shirts at cost for the breweries. Heaton created the game because he, “wanted people to go out and experience not only different beers but different breweries.” However, getting a bingo was no small feat, as it featured breweries fromFort Collins,Loveland,Greeleyand Berthoud.
Alyse and I were up for the challenge, and headed south to get started. 10 different cards were created, so we made sure to get the same card as we would be traveling together. We spent the afternoon at Grimm Brothers and Big Beaver Brewing Co. inLoveland, and the evening biking to Funkwerks and Pateros Creek Brewing inFort Collinscollecting our stamps. Each place we went, nearly everyone had their own cards they were already working on. It seemed the game was really catching on! The spaces were beer specific, so to get the stamp you had to drink the beer that was listed. For me, I didn’t get to try any new beers or go to new breweries, as I had been around the beer block a time or two. Alyse got to experience the immature yet hilarious names of the beers at Big Beaver Brewing for the first time. The 12 year old boy in all of us giggles at the names, but you don’t want anyone to know you like a beer called Bust-a-Nut Brown.
The next day, Aylse had to go to Greeley for a meeting, so we took the opportunity to hit up Crabtree Brewing for another stamp. The Hewlett Gulch fire was burning pretty intensely just west of the city, so we were actually looking forward to fresher air inGreeley. If you are aware ofGreeley’s reputation for its lovely industrial stockyard aroma, then you know this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We got our stamp, enjoyed some fresh popcorn on the patio and headed to our last and final stop, Odell Brewing. We sipped our IPAs while snacking some samples of MouCo Cheese. I had more than my fair share of their ColoRogue, a soft buttery mound of heaven that brought out more spiceyness in the IPA. Plus, we finally got our shirts!
It only took us 2 days to finish our bingo, but many other people took a day or two more. Many of the breweries ran out of a few sizes of shirts, making the game a success for its first year. One person even completed a black out, and won a prize pack from Grimm Brothers.
While the breweries inFort Collins came together for the second year to produce a Collusion Ale, they also worked together to organize and promote flash mobs. At 3pm and 4pm over 4 days people converged on different breweries inFort Collinsand ordered a beer for 15 minutes of fun. On Saturday I was able to attend the mobs at Funkwerks and CB & Potts. The mob at Funkwerks was huge, with more than 40 people on the patio alone for the flash mob. The flash mob at CB& Potts was smaller, but I still enjoyed chatting with the attendees over a couple of cold beers. This was another great way to promote the brewing industry.