Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bigger and Lagerer Than Ever

At a time when it seems like every business is shrinking or dying, here's a bit of good news: The Manitou Craft Lager Festival is expanding this year.

In its sixth year, one of Colorado's most unique summer festivals is going for the first time to a two-day schedule. Mark off Aug. 8 and 9 on your calendar, and then pick either or both.

Not only is it expanding its visiting hours, but the festival also is expanding its locale. Anyone who remembers the cramped quarters at Soda Springs Park last year will be pleased to know the event is moving down the street to the roomier Memorial Park, which also happens to have a lot more convenient parking adjacent to it.

Festival guru Jason Yester, whose Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs will celebrate its first birthday later this year, said he's expanding the non-profit festival to drive up revenue, create more capital and eventually bring in some big-name bands, hoping to make it a "mini-Telluride." And of course, he's hoping to increase the number of brewers, a feat he's managed to pull off every year so far at what is believed to be the nation's only solar-powered beer festival.

There are plenty of festivals to talk about this summer, from A-Basin to Salida to Breckenridge, and I hope to lay that schedule out in the near future (if I can just get off work earlier and start blogging more). But I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the lager festival, as its unique beer parameters, longest-lasting Springs-area tradition and annual team-brewed edition of Warning Sign imperial eisbock make it a place that just feels a little bit mellower and a little happier than anywhere else.

Until then, crack open a cold lager - a good one, that is - and get ready for it.

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