VAIL — Every January, craft brewers from around the nation convene in Vail to share their liquid art at the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival, slated for Jan. 9-11. Regarded as one of the most prestigious craft brew events in the nation, Big Beers is known for the impressive roster of craft beer industry celebrities it attracts each year. Last year, the event attracted nearly 1,200 people and this year organizers expect a larger crowd since the ever-popular Commercial Tasting and Fireside Bar programs have been re-located to larger venues within the Vail Cascade Resort, nearly doubling ticket availability for the Commercial Tasting. Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines tickets will go on sale online on Sept. 4 at 10 a.m. MST. Ticket prices will vary based on selected programs.
The Vail Cascade Resort will also offer discounted room rates for that weekend starting at $219 for a standard lodge room with promotion code BigBeers2014.
During the three-day program, Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines features a variety of opportunities to rub elbows with avant-garde brewmasters, owners and enthusiasts including a Welcome Reception, Brewmasters’ Dinners, educational seminars and the Big Beers Homebrew Competition. However, for the past 14 years, the highlight of the weekend has been the Commercial Tasting event, which showcases more than 250 craft beers, most poured by the owner or brewmaster of the brewery themselves.
The event, which was previously held on two floors of the Conference Center at the Vail Cascade is being relocated to Gore Range Hall to accommodate all of the brewers in one venue.
Another event favorite is The Fireside Bar Program, which originated at the event’s 10th anniversary, when more than 20 breweries created a special beer to be released at the festival. The beers were introduced at the Welcome Reception, and then poured in the Fireside Bar for purchase to benefit the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. The program was so popular that the brewers have continued to donate kegs to the Fireside Bar annually, and the demand for these beers has completely surpassed the capacity and service ability of the Fireside Bar. Hence, in 2014, this program will be held in the Cascade Lounge, which will provide additional seating, food options and staffing for both beer and food service.
“Our 14th anniversary weekend marks significant changes in format and scheduling to allow for growth, both in participating breweries and attendance,” said Laura Lodge, event coordinator. “Guests can look forward to an additional seminar track and a new off-site Brewmaster’s Dinner as well as the expanded event venue.”
For a complete listing of weekend events, featured brewmasters, seminars and presenters visit the event’s website or sign up for the Facebook group page. Updates, news and brewmaster confirmations will be communicated via these channels on a regular basis.
The Big Beers Festival offers discounted lodging at several sponsoring Vail properties including the Vail Cascade Resort and discounted equipment rental at Charter Sports, located inside the Vail Cascade Resort. For more information, visit the website at www.bigbeersfestival.com. For more information about the Vail Cascade Resort and their craft beer program, visit www.vailcascade.com, and for more information about the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, please visit www.vvcf.org.