VAIL -Tickets for the 13th annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival go on sale Saturday at www.bigbeersfestival.com. Vail Cascade Resort is once again the host location for the event, being held Jan. 10-12. Returning favorites and usually sold-out or standing-room only programs include the opening calibration dinner, a traditional brewmaster's dinner, the experimental brewing seminar, "Brewers Gone Wild," and CraftBeer.com's beer and food pairing taste-off. Both dinners are five-course, white-tablecloth beer pairing dinners with commentary from the brewmasters and chefs. Many more programs are listed on the event website; special guests and seminars continue to be added to the lineup.Designed to welcome the beer connoisseur, the innovative homebrewer, and the novice taster, participants will find events appropriate for all levels of interest. Throughout the course of the entire festival, breweries from around the world participate, serving hundreds of elite brews.Featured brewmastersThe two featured brewmasters this year are Matt Brynildson, brewmaster for Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, Calif., and Kevin DeLange, owner and founder of Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora. DeLange's Dry Dock Brewing was awarded Small Brewing Company of the Year in 2009 at one of the industry's largest events: the Great American Beer Festival. Brynildson's Firestone Walker has been recognized in the media as "the most award-winning craft brewery in the world," and most recently won Champion Brewery/Brewmaster for Mid-Size Breweries at the 2012 World Beer Cup.The role of the featured brewmasters is to co-host the traditional brewmaster's dinner, and each brewmaster will present a seminar on their choice of topic on Saturday. Avery Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery open the weekend annually with the calibration dinner.The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival is a three-day event featuring educational seminars including a cicerone workshop (similar to the sommelier designation in the world of wine), two brewmaster's dinners, and a wildly popular and uber-competitive homebrew competition. A commercial tasting tops off the events with more than 60 breweries and importers showcasing their wares. A majority of the breweries are represented by the actual owner or brewmaster.New VIP pass optionNew for this year are a limited number of VIP passes, available on the event website for $500, which include a seat at each of the brewmasters' dinners on Thursday and Friday; a commercial tasting and seminars ticket; a reserved seat/media access at each seminar; admission to a welcome reception; early admission to the commercial tasting; commemorative 2013 glassware (two tulip glasses); choice of festival hat or T-shirt and a festival hoodie or jacket.The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival actively supports the efforts of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, a local organization that helps individuals who live and work in the Vail Valley that have critical financial need due to medical catastrophes, accidents or long-term illnesses. For more information about the VVCF, visit www.vvcf.orgInformation about lodging options is available at www.bigbeersfestival.com.For more information on the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines event, email email@example.com.
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