The 12 ounce plastic mugs of the past have been replaced by sturdy 6 ounce logo'd glasses that were filled to about two thirds full by most brewers. Only a few bottled products were in evidence as regional brewers took the opportunity to bring their most popular drafts. Although a few generous servers were cautioned by event "security", this festival remains one of the most popular with Colorado brewers due to the lack of "beer police" (unlike the GABF) and of course the great venue. The incredible valley vistas that included waterfalls on Saturday were enhanced even more by Sunday morning when all of the surrounding peaks glowed brightly from a blanket of fresh snow. The debut of Fall in Colorado.
Other than an extremely sour brew from Baked in Telluride, all of the tasting choices were well-received. Some standouts included the Eske's Beyond the Pale with its nice hoppy aroma and flavor. The Ska Pale was also outstanding as a hoppy, "American-style" Pale Ale. New Belgium showed their new seasonal, the Single Ale that replaces their Saison. This Fall brew has a medium body, nice fruity/estery aroma, and even malt and hops in the flavor.
This years event combined three days of music at three locations around town. For the Town Park venue, no alcohol is allowed! Performers included Lonnie Brooks Blues Band, Leon Redbone with Tom Roberts and Dan Levinson, W.C. Clark Blues Revue, The Poppies, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, and funky METERS. Prices were variable: an All Access Weekend Pass was $55, a Music Only Weekend Pass $45, individual shows were $10, $15, and $20, while the Sunday Blues Show was $20 in advance and $25 at the door. The Grand Tasting was a reasonable $16 in advance and $20 at the door for four hours of "unmetered" tasting. Although the Town Fathers are said to be "concerned" about liability when hosting this event, the well-behaved crowd and the strong local support should ensure we see an equally popular event next year. Let's hope for improved tent protection from inclement weather and adequate restrooms to reduce the 10 minute waits that cut into precious sampling time. One thing the organizers here do better than either the GABF or the Oregon Brewer's Festival, they survey the crowd (customers) in order to improve the event (service). What a concept!
Atlantis Brewing Avery Brewing Beaver Street Brewery Berckenridge Brewery Brewed in Telluride Bristol Brewing Carver's Brewing Crested Butte Brewery Durango Brewing Eddie McStiffs Eske's Brew Pub Flying Dog Brew Pub Glenwood Canyon Brewing Great Divide Brewing HC Berger Brewery Il Vicino - Salida Left Hand Brewing Main Street Brewing McFarlane Brewing Moab Brewery New Belgium Brewery Oasis Brewery Phantom Canyon Brewing Pine Street Brewing Rock Bottom Brewery San Juan Brewing Smiling Moose Brewing Tabernash Brewing Tommyknocker Brewery Unita Brewing