Beaver Creek came to life Saturday as people enjoyed the 10th anniversary of the Brews Blues & BBQ Festival. Upon entering the venue, guests were greeted with that familiar smell of camp-style cooking as charcoal haze filled the air; here however, it’s taken to a whole new level. Scattered throughout the tents, Beaver Creek hosted 16 restaurants, all with the hope of placing in either the BBQ Panel Judged competition, or the People’s Choice competition.
People waited up to 20 minutes for one of Big Country Bar-B-Que’s famous seven-layer popper. Darren Byrd, nickname “Big Country,” started at a restaurant in Keystone and now, three months after his latest Denver-based food-truck endeavor, is pretty pleased with the turnout.
Big Country hoped to win one of the People’s Choice awards, which hadn’t been announced as of press time. Local resident Mark Tamberino, owner of Kirby Cosmo’s in Minturn, came out for his eighth year at Beaver Creek’s Brews Blues & BBQ and said he too was more concerned with the results of the People’s Choice awards, hoping his tender wings would garner a prize.
“I grew up helping my dad with his business in meat distribution, so I’ve been doing this my whole life,” Tamberino said while chopping ribs with a smile on his face.
But the festival wasn’t only about the ‘cue, but was also about the brew. The day began with the Spiegelau Beerglass Seminar, where attendees learned about the importance of using the right beer glass. The learning process required a lot of smelling, sipping, pouring and, of course, drinking.
“I want it to smell like the parking lot of a Phish concert,” class instructor Doug Reed said after opening a fresh American IPA and requesting guests to get a good whiff.
With the purchase of a ticket to the Microbrew Festival, attendees made the rounds, filling up their mugs with microbrews from all over Colorado.
“We love coming to Beaver Creek,” said Cody Butters, district manager of AC Golden Brewing. “It’s a well-run facility and with this turn out, it’s been great.”
The festival continues today. The beer garden will open up at noon. Barbecue vendor competitions will be held again today, as well the anticipated Big Green Egg Backyard Competition, where amateurs get the chance to take home one of the pricey smokers as a prize.
Scott Wirth of Vail Valley’s Ace Hardware said competitors will arrive to the 10 big eggs already lit and ready to go, and are given a basket with a carefully selected meat and side dish they have to prepare for the judges.
“They’re all given the same ingredients, it sets a level playing field,” Scott said.