GOLDEN PEAK – A lot of the beers being poured at the sixth annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival this weekend are sealed with foil, a wire retainer and a cork, similiar to Champagne.Most people, however, would never regard beer and Champagne as close relatives, since producing Champagne is an art and drinking beer is an art of guzzling while munching hot dogs, right? Wrong.The festival’s mission is to erase what people think they know about beer, which usually consist of the “daily” pale-yellow kind like Coors, and open their eyes to the world of specialty beers through education and sampling. Organizers Bill and Laura Lodge of High Point Brewing want to steer festival-goers toward styles of beer that, unless you’re a “beer geek,” you’ve probably never tasted or even heard about.Manor Vail Resort in Golden Peak hosts the event this year, which begins today with the homebrew competition judging and the brewmaster’s dinner. Featured brewmasters are Rob Tod from Allagash Brewing and Eric Wallace from Left Hand Brewing. Lord Gore’s Executive Chef Richard Wade has paired four courses with beers from the two breweries. The flavor complexities of these beers make pairing them with food very comparable to pairing wine or champagne with dinner. It’s a small movement quickly gaining momentum among beer lovers.During the commercial tasting Saturday from 2-7 p.m., other breweries will be marrying beer and wine to show festival-goers how well it can work. Great Divide Brewing will pair two different cheeses with two different beers. Redstone Meadery will serve up ham with its honeywine with juniper berries.Concentrating on education, for the first two hours of the commercial tasting, people are only allowed to try each beer once to ensure attendees are learning about the different styles. The actual beer brewer will be on hand to answer questions and do the pouring, but they won’t be pouring into a beer mug. The $22 ($25 at the door) entrance fee also buys you a collector snifter for the beer samples. The snifter allows attendees’ noses to get up close and personal with the beer to enjoy the aromatics, which can range from cofee to malt to toffee.Featured brewmasters Tod and Wallace will lead seminars during the tasting Saturday. Tod will disccuss “Barrel Aging Beer” at 3:30 p.m. and Wallace will teach about “Aging Barleywine at 4:30 p.m.
For more information, visit http://www.BigBeersFestival.com or call 524-1092.Beer festival scheduleTodayHomebrew Competition JudgingIn the afternoonManor Vail Resort in Golden Peak
Brewmasters’ Dinner8:30 p.m., reservations required$49 per personLord Gore at the Manor Vail Resort in Golden PeakSaturdayCommercial Tasting – 2-7 p.m.
n Big Beers Homebrew competition awards presented – 2:30 p.m.n “Barrel Aging Beer” seminar – 3:30 p.m.n “Aging Barleywine” seminar – 4:30 p.m.n Last call – 6:45 p.m.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14640, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado