Steering Clear of Weak Beer

February 2011

For years, convenience stores and grocers in Colorado have unsuccessfully pushed for the right to sell beer with a higher alcohol content than 3.2 percent. And now it seems they're taking revenge, thanks to an amendment snuck into an unrelated bill last year that imposes fines on restaurants for selling weak beer. "Restaurants can sell O'Doul's and other 'nonalcoholic' (i.e. less than 0.5 percent) beers, and they can sell 'malt liquor,' which is anything over 3.2 percent. But they can't sell the so-called 'fermented malt beverages' that fall in between," writes Face the State. "That's the exclusive prerogative of supermarkets and convenience stores." Which means popular labels like Heineken, Lindemans, and Amstel, along with other low-carb or low-fat beers, are off-limits to Colorado restaurants.

You're unlikely to find any weak beer in the refrigerators of the magazine staffs partnering with some of Colorado's favorite craft brewers. Outside magazine and Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing Co. have teamed up to help out the Humane Society by launching a Mighty Arrow Facebook app (via the Coloradoan). Named for the brewery's pale ale, users are asked to upload pictures of their dogs, for which the companies will donate $1 each—up to $10,000—to the Humane Society.

O'dell Brewing Co., another popular Fort Collins beer maker, is well represented in the limited-edition 5280 Six Pack. The "dream mix-six" is comprised of the top half dozen brews listed in "Colorado's Best Craft Beers" from our September issue. Only 5,280 sixers were packaged, so hit up one of these Front Range stores before they're gone.