Living in Colorado has its perks…Majestic mountains, amazing wildlife, friendly people…and really, really good beer. Often called the Napa Valley of Beer, the Colorado has some of the best brewing facilities imbibers will find anywhere, period. As a result beer festivals can be found all over the state and one of the newest kicked off with a bang the first weekend in August: Denver’s Mile High Beer Festival
Held at the Ogden Theater on August 4, the Mile High Beer Festival featured a variety of breweries, 19 total, including some old, some new, some local, some national and some not even open for business yet. Beer lovers had two sessions to choose from, afternoon and evening, and both sessions included live music and food specials.
Billed as a “Beer Bonding Experience,” there was a special VIP session that opened an hour before the main event and featured a collector tasting mug. General admission attendees received a tasting cup and unlimited one ounce samplings of beer with some vendors providing up to four different brews. Both sessions included live entertainment from three bands: Blue grass band Chain Station, Denver’s best rock and roll band, Monroe Monroe, and Boulder indie band The Last Thoughts of Ezra Pound. Snyder’s of Hanover handed out free pretzels and Biker Jim’s provided gourmet hot dogs to pair with their beer.
Now on to the reason for attending this event – the beer. Breweries included local favorites such as Great Divide, Left Hand, New Belgium, Odells, Oscar Blues, Rockyard, Ska and Wynkoop. Up and coming Colorado breweries included Big Choice, Crazy Mountain, Denver Beer Company, Twisted Pine and Stronghold. Out of state breweries included Angry Orchard of Cincinnati, OH, Alaskan of Juneau, AK, Crispin Ciders of Minneapolis, MN, Firestone Walker of Paso Robles, CA, Pyramid Breweries of Seattle, WA, and Samuel Adams of Boston, MA.
The cool thing about the Mile High Beer Fest is getting to meet the people that actually work at the breweries. If you have questions or want to know more about a particular beer, you can ask and get helpful answers. Find a brewery you really like? You can exchange email addresses or sign up for newsletters and learn about special events. Makes you feel like a craft beer insider.
With both afternoon and evening sessions sold out, I’d say the organizers have a hit on their hands. So much so they are branching out to other cities. The next event is the Boulder Brew Fest on Saturday, September 1. The event will be held at the Boulder Theater and feature over 65 of the best beers in the country. Look a festival coming soon to a city near you.