As one of the five oldest beer festivals in the United States, Fort Collins’ Colorado Brewers’ Festival is one of the biggest festivals you’ll find here in Colorado outside of GABF. Growing from a festival with only 3 breweries, the Colorado Brewers’ Festival now features more than 60 different beers from over 40 of Colorado’s best established and up-and-coming breweries.
“The Colorado Brewers Festival,” recalls Brad Page, one of the original founders and now the founder of Colorado Cider Company, “was the first statewide beer festival. It legitimized our industry.”
Unlike most festivals where everything is jam packed into one afternoon or evening, the Colorado Brewers’ Festival spreads things out over 3 days including pre-festival events like “The Summit” where rare and exceptional beers are poured as a fundraiser for the Colorado Brewers Guild to the tasting sessions on Saturday and Sunday. All in all, the weekend will bring 18,000+ beer lovers to Civic Center Park in Fort Collins.
[infobox title=’The Summit Beer List’]
- Avery Brewing Co. Samaels Oak-Aged Ale
- Boulder Beer Company Killer Penguin Barley Wine
- Cannonball Creek Brewing Mocha Imperial Stout
- Comrade Brewing Company Superpower IPA
- Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. Neomexicanus
- Crooked Stave Surette Provision Saison HopSavant
- Epic Brewing Company 2013 Barley Wine
- FATE Brewing Company Coffee IPA
- Grimm Brothers Brewhouse Batch 500 (Imperial Pils) Old Sultan (Munster Alt)
- Loveland Ale Works American Sour with Raspberries Apples & Oranges Sour
- Mockery Brewing Uber Dunkel Japanese Extra Pale Ale Red Session IPA
- Our Mutual Friend Gose
- Ratio Beerworks New Wave (Strawberry Berliner Weisse)
- Spangalang Brewery Petit Saison with Brett
- WeldWerks Brewing Co. Cherry Gose Double IPA
- Wiley Roots Brewing Company Blood Orange Gose
- Wynkoop Brewing Company Reel Big Stout Double OG
- Black Bottle Brewery OG Kush
- Cooper Smith’s Pub & Brewery Welcome to the Dark Side Stout
- Equinox TBD
- Fort Collins Brewery Giles Golden Imperial Ale
- Funkwerks Nelson Hopped Saison
- Horse & Dragon Brewing Company Imperial IPA with Tropical Fruits
- New Belgium Brewing Co. 2015 Transatlantique Kriek
- Odell Brewing Company Friek 180 Shilling Misc. “Cellar Bombers”
- Pateros Creek Brewing Company Stimulator Rye Pale Ale
- Snowbank Brewing Chocolate Stout
- Zwei Brewing Co. NeueVienna Lager [/infobox]
“The COBF is an iconic beer festival,” says Steve Kurowski, marketing director for the Colorado Brewers Guild. “We’re excited to join forces with the fest for this intimate experience for Colorado craft beer lovers. We are asking our brewery members to dig deep and bring something very special, something they typically don’t serve at public events.”
We talked with Dwight Hall from CooperSmith’s Brewing about how this festival has helped shape beer culture here in Colorado.
What is it about the Colorado Brewers Festival that makes it unique in an age where cookie cutter beer festivals seem to be becoming the norm?
This will be the 26th Annual COBF. During that time the festival has followed an arc through a various phases. The festival originally started in order to help teach people about craft beer in a time when general beer knowledge was very low and craft beer was a completely foreign concept. As craft beer began to gain traction in the early 1990’s the festival grew in size and the education piece fell away as the festival became more about trying the large variety of beers from around Colorado.
Three years ago the decision was made to reign in the size of the festival and bring back more contact with the brewers and more education. That brings us to the festival we have now where there is a great diversity of beer from all around the state. There will be talks to learn more about beer and the brewers will be on site to talk about their beers.
What experiences do you want non-craft beer fans to have at the festival? Is there any educational content that is available for someone who might not know anything about craft beer?
Well it is a beer festival so really great craft beer is the focus. There is also “Beer School” happening where you can go to learn more about specific facets of beer and the brewers will be there to talk about what is unique about their beer.
Even if your not a big beer fan it is still a really fun place to be with live music in the park, and food, shade and grass in a festive environment.
The Colorado Brewers’ Festival is a non-ticketed event, so if you want to just go and people-watch, you’re welcome to! We know none of you would ever go to a beer festival and not drink beer, and the Colorado Brewers’ Festival has tasting packages available to help you quench your thirst. Don’t worry about getting some flimsy plastic glass that smells like the inside of a garden hose, as they’ve put a specially made BPA-free polymer glass in every tasting package. Also included are 10 Taster Tickets, where 4 will give you a full 16oz pour and 1 will give you a 4oz sample.