Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm Back, and So Are Summer Festivals
First, I want to apologize to all of my readers - that would be both of you - for being away for so long. I moved up to The Gazette's Statehouse Bureau this year, and for the duration of the legislative session I barely had time to breathe, regardless to drink good beer and write about it.

But now the lovely, leisurely days of summer are back, not only here in the Capitol, but in the world of frothy beverage enjoyment. That means beer festivals, the single best excuse for standing outside all day in the beating sun and dehydrating yourself in a good way.

I started the summer off at the Summit County brew festival on Memorial Day weekend and learned a few things:
*Backcountry Brewery, whose Telemark IPA quietly ranks as one of the best IPAs in the state, is not a one-trick pony. It broke out a Breakfast Stout that tastes more like coffee than any brew I've consumed. Wonderfully rich and full, I made a return trip to Dillon last weekend partly just so that I could bring home two more growlers of it.
*Dillon Dam Brewery, which I shellacked in a column earlier this year, broke out a surprisingly impressive 10th Anniversary Imperial Stout. This will never be confused with, say, Stone's imperial stout, but its semi-thick, brown ale-like quality was the best thing I've tried yet from the Dillon brewery.
*Wolf Rock, Keystone's newest brewery, says its reviving an old town pub with more flavor. The effort is appreciated, but judging by the ultra-light quality of the Leroy's Brown, it still has a long way to go.
*Breckenridge Brewery's Winter Thaw is about the sweetest and chilliest brown ale I've ever tried, but it was quite drinkable while I stood in shorts and sandals at the bottom of a ski run.

I appreciate the ability to learn things like this at beer festivals, and that's why I'm heading up to Fort Collins this weekend to take in the Colorado Brewers Festival. It runs from 11 to 6 Saturday and Sunday in the heart of downtown, and the $10 admission (or $6 for Sunday only) gets you access to most of the great breweries in Colorado.

Here is where I need your help, though, dear blog readers: I'm at a loss for a schedule for the rest of the summer. If you know of other beer festivals, please send me details and I will post them here as a running calendar of the summer's greatest hits.


ED! Wooohoooo! Glad your back amigo!

So far we've hit the Beaver Creek Blues & Brews fest (Memorial Day weekend), then the Snowmass Chili Pepper & Beer Fest a few weeks ago. Great times.

I totaly forgot about the Colo Brewers Fest this weekend. Already have plans, but we might try to make it up there on Sunday.

Hey, did you go to that brew thingee that Old Chicago and Rock Bottom did a few weeks back (it was the weekend we went to Snowmass)?
Gonna have to try out Breck's Winter Thaw, and the Backcountry's Breakfast Stout sounds like a fantastic winter time brew.

Up at the Snowmass fest the breweries were serving (for whatever reason) a lot of stouts. Made no sense to me since stouts do not go well with summer heat.

I got a chance to try Trinidad Brewing Co's Light Amber Ale - hello! Good stuff.
There's two beer olympics this summer: Hawaii (this weekend) and Illinois (July 7th). Also, there's Ohio Brew Week July 16-21 in Athens.

And when you can't make it out to the festivals, there's always a good beer movie:http://www.bside.com/films/outdoorsmen
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