Ales, Apps & Barrels of Fun – It Was All That & Then Some

Last night we were guests at Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun, and as the name suggests, we had a barrel full of fun! We’ve been fans of this event, held annually at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, since it’s inception in 2018. This night of adults-only fun at the Children’s Museum is truly one of our favorite events of the year! And what’s not to love? They encourage you to let your inner kid out to play, while still enjoying the best parts of being an adult: tasty craft beverages, adult versions of some favorite childhood treats, and staying up late on a school night. Yaaaaay!

Recap: 2020 Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun

This year’s Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun was the best yet! Sure, we say that every year, but that doesn’t make it less true. This year there was an added reason to celebrate, thanks to the addition of craft cocktails! While we didn’t sample them all, we couldn’t pass up the Shiso Pre-Historic cocktail from Catering by Design. With white rum, lime, soda, black currant simple syrup, and a shiso leaf garnish, this refreshing cocktail was fantastic. The drink paired perfectly with their fried deviled “dino” egg. You could say their table set captured the spirit of the entire event. Everything was dino-mite!

The Ales!

With a dozen breweries serving up great craft brews, there is plenty of great beer to enjoy at Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun. We got to sip some of our all-time favorite beers, like Comrade Brewing Company‘s Superpower IPA and Little Machine Beer‘s Razz Against the Machine. (For real, if only those two beers were being poured, we’d still be happy campers.) With all the variety we found a few all-new favorites, too. Some of our favorites were Bretty Player One, a deliciously funky beer by Resolute Brewing Company; Peaches Be Crazy, a tart kettle-soured peach ale from WestFax Brewing Co; and Campfire Tails IPL, a refreshing and crushable American Lager from Horse & Dragon Brewing Company. There were many more excellent beers consumed during the event, these are just a few examples. In addition to the great beer, there were had hard cider and cocktails available.

The Apps!

Each of the eight caterers who participated in Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun brought some incredible dishes. The childhood inspired bites were plentiful and included mini deep-dish pizzas, chicken nuggets with beer-infused dipping sauce, and mini lobster corn dogs. There were plenty of more grown-up noshes, too, such as bangers & mash, bison meatloaf sliders, and miniature poke bowls. Everything we tried was scrumptious. Plus, the small-sized bites meant we could sample more. Eight caterers in one space are akin to being invited to enjoy the best cocktail party spread ever.

Perhaps our favorite dish was the Short Rib & Polenta from Epicurean Catering Denver. The braised & pulled beef short ribs were melt-in-your-mouth good, and the polenta was creamy and absolutely wonderful. The combination, topped with a parmesan gremolata, was perfection!

Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun at the Childrens Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

There was no shortage of sweet treats to indulge in at Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun. In a sea of sweets, there were some creative confections we couldn’t pass up. The Adult Brownie Sundaes from Serendipity Catering featured Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout infused brownies, stout pretzel ice cream, and candied nuts. They were decadent and delicious, (especially when paired with an Epic Brewing Coffee Stout!) Speaking of nitrogen and ice cream, Biscuits & Berries served Nitro Ice Cream Sandwiches, using liquid nitrogen to mix up the ice cream on the spot. We had the ice cream sandwiched between vanilla macarons. YUM. There were too many sweets to sample them all, no matter how hard we tried… and trust me, we tried.

The Barrels of Fun!

While food and beer are great, the real star of this event is always the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. Let’s face it – being an adult day-in and day-out is super boring. Getting the opportunity to be a kid for the night at the Children’s Museum is the reason this event is so special. Don’t tell anyone, but even if they didn’t lure us in with beer and food, we’d still come out just to play at the Children’s Museum of Denver.

Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun at the Childrens Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
Our favorite spot, The Assembly Plant. We like to build stuff.

Not only does the Children’s Museum open their doors for adults during Ales, Apps, & Barrels fo Fun. They also open nearly all their exhibits, so you can let your inner kid out to play! We explored the mock fire station and fire truck, the veterinary clinic, and the market. We got in touch with our creative side using paint and clay. We made giant bubbles, launched paper rockets, and played with water jets. And while we didn’t tackle Altitude this time, we’ve made that three-story climb before, and it’s awesome. Playtime was even better than you remember thanks to the DJ, who kept the party going with some awesome throwback jams.

If you’ve been to the Children’s Museum with the kiddos, you know it’s fun. Getting to explore without the kiddos means you can finally have the whoopee cushion wall to yourself, which is worth the price of admission. We simply can’t overstate how much fun we had. We were so busy having fun, that the phone didn’t make it out to snap many pictures during playtime. However, we did get a picture of our crabby creations, Mrs. & Mrs. Claude VanCrab:

Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun at the Childrens Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
We made crabs!

Coming Soon: Camp Throwback

Did you miss out on all the good times at Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun? Or, like us, are you a little sad that you have to wait a whole year to do it again?

Well, you may not have to wait that long! The Childen’s Museum of Denver is already teasing more adults-only fun that’s coming this summer: Camp Throwback! Save the date for Friday, August 7 so you can join in their next awesome event. That’s all we know, but we’re already excited! When more details are announced you can read about it here, and who knows, maybe we’ll see you at Camp Throwback this summer!

Image Credit: Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

About the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

To learn more about the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, visit their website at

Ales, Apps, & Barrels of Fun at the Childrens Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
Just a couple of kids drinking with their crabs