5 things we learned at the Colorado Brewers' Festival
Today in Obvious World: Coloradans love beer. We would swim in it if we could. And then we wouldn’t shower afterwards so we could lick the hoppy-goodness off of our skin for the rest of the day.
So it makes sense that, according to the Colorado Brewers' Guild we are the “epicenter of American craft brewing”, which is represented by the 160 microbrewers that make frothy alcoholic hop-water in our wonderful state. Fifty of those brewers came out to Fort Collins, equipped with two of their finest concoctions (one beer for Saturday and another for Sunday) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Colorado Brewers’ Festival.
We decided to go out and celebrate with them via uninhibited beer consumption, and this is what we discovered at the bottom of our glasses.
1. The Brewers’ fest is as old as you are, valued target-market male or female
Assuming you are 25 that is. The Colorado Brewers’ Festival celebrated its silver birthday this year and looked back with boozy nostalgia at how far they have come. The festival began in 1990 when three young brewing pioneers, Doug Odell (Odell Brewery Co.) and Brad Page and Scott Smith (CooperSmith’s Pub and Brewing), decided to pop up some tents in downtown Fort Collins, bring a few kegs and have a rager in the streets. They invited nine other brewers and allowed passersby to sample their homemade liquid gold. Turns out, people liked that brewers were handing out free-ish beer to them in da streets, and the festival grew from there.
In the years that have followed, beer pandemonium has enveloped our state, and caused the Brewers’ Fest to grow by the thousands. Marty Jones, Colorado beer publicist (yes that’s his actual job), said "it's hard to picture the Colorado beer landscape of 1990 when you see how much "beerly" splendor surrounds us now. I hope newcomers to craft beer will take a moment to appreciate all the work that's been done before they got on board." Don’t worry Marty, we appreciate the hell out of it…and you…and beer.
2. Procrastinating doesn’t work as well as it does in college
Apparently, you have to be on top of your shit to reap the full benefits of the Colorado Brewers’ fest. Purchasing your tickets online, ahead of time like a responsible adult, granted you with a dope commemorative glass and allowed you to skip the heard of other lazy people waiting in line for ‘day of’ tickets. The lines actually weren’t too bad, despite the blazing heat, but unfortunately we can’t fault the festival for the weather god’s choices. If you signed up online you were also entered to win a full year of free beer from Odell Brewery Co. But we’re usually not very lucky, or able to carry out simple plans, so we really missed out on were those awesome cups…dammit. At least we got some sweet festival bracelets, stamped with the Colorado logo, so that we too could be a part of the heady hippies rocking festival bracelets on their wrists like middle schoolers at a rave. Buy your tickets online, kiddos.
3. Size matters
The reason we are so resentful about not getting the aforementioned glasses has everything to do with the size of the cups we got instead. The commemorative glasses that online ticket buyers got were 16ozs. Awesome. The dingy little glasses you get the day of, were ‘taster’ glasses, a measly 4ozs. Pathetic. For one ‘festival buck’ you could fill up your taster and for four you could fill up the big, "I'm a responsible adult" glass. Money-wise it evened out, but if you like to drink as much as we do, a 4oz glass of beer is going to last about as long as our attention spans, which according to Dr. Brown, isn't that long.
The main problem with this was that each time you filled up, you had to wait in a humongous line. The festival pretty much went like this: wait in a long ass line, take one gulp of beer, wait in another long ass line, and repeat. If you had a bigger glass however, you could drink beer and stand in line simultaneously, lucky bastards.
4. Beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beeeeer!
Ready for this? There is a shit ton of beer at the Colorado Brewers’ Festival.
The festival is open to the general public if they just want to wander around the grounds and look with jealousy upon the magical fountains of beer flowing endlessly from spouts into our small glasses. For those twenty-one and older, who attended the festival to down as many tasty beers as possible, the choices were literally endless. For people who enjoy a lighter beer and as few hops as possible a good option was “In Love with Summer” a Strawberry Rhubarb Wheat from Verboten Brewery. A beer which literally embodies the perfect summer: caramel coloring and fruity, bubbly, refreshment, and of course, alcohol, what could be better? If you were on the other end of the beer spectrum (the hoppier, the better) than you could sample Oskar Blue’s Imperial Red Ale, G’Knight. This beer is not only fucking delicious, but it’s alcohol content is above 10%, which doesn't suck at all. We stood in that line so many times, the lady pouring beer practically knew our life stories by the end of the day. In addition to those two fan favorites there were Coffee Porters and Mexican Chocolate Stouts, if you're into feeling like you ate three full meals after consuming four ounces of beer. And if you don’t appreciate fine beer? Coors, the Silver Bullet, was there too.
5. There was beer, but there were also so many activities
Even though we attended the festival with only booze consumption in mind, there was a lot more to do there than just drink. T
There were two stages where local bands jammed out, like our parents at Woodstock. Oh wait…those were our parents up there. There was also a ‘Beer School’, which held workshops put on by various different brewers such as New Belgium, Odell and Wynkoop Brewery. CSU’s beer brewing institute even held a seminar called, “Higher education takes on craft brewing”, which discussed the university's unique “beer major”. Needless to say we are looking into going back to school to get that degree and make our moms sort-of proud. We're fairly certain it would be more profitable than a certain English degree we spent seven years chasing.
On top of all of that there were food trucks, wafting the scent of fresh BBQ into our nostrils, and game areas where all the parents could ditch their wee ones in order to get properly obliterated.
Overall we were disappointed by having to wait so long to drink such a small amount of beer, but we think the Colorado Brewers’ Festival has real potential. Just let us drink quicker next time.