Vail Today: 32 breweries come to Beaver Creek’s Blues, Brews & BBQ (video) | VailDaily.com

Vail Today: 32 breweries come to Beaver Creek’s Blues, Brews & BBQ (video)

By Tricia Swenson | Vail Today

Over 30 breweries will be pouring 80 different styles of beer at Saturday's Microbrew Festival, which is a part of Beaver Creek's Blues, Brews and BBQ event.

Known as the unofficial kick-off to summer, the 14th annual Blues Brews and BBQ brings together authentic blues music and top barbeque chefs who will be serving up mouthwatering dishes, which can all be washed down with beer.

Although beer will be readily available on the plaza level both days, on Saturday, microbrew aficionados and those wanting to learn more about craft brewing can do so by attending the Microbrew Festival, which takes place at Centennial Park at the base of Beaver Creek mountain between 1 and 5 p.m.

Of the 32 Colorado-based breweries taking part in the festival, four are located in Eagle County. Here's what they'll be pouring:

• Bonfire Brewing, Eagle, CO – Pink-I Raspberry IPA, Coloradler Ale with Lemon & Mint, and at least one additional surprise option

• Crazy Mountain Brewery, Edwards, CO – Crazy Mountain Amber Ale, Lava Lake Wit, and Mountain Livin’ Pale Ale

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• 7 Hermits Brewing Company, Eagle, CO – Gold Dust Blonde, Fire it up! Green Chili Lager and 8150 Pale Ale.

• Vail Brewing Company, Eagle-Vail, CO – Tourist Trap Double IPA, Nacho Wall Mexican Lager, Pete’s Stash Pale Ale, and Apricot Sour.

Events like these allow brewers to get out of their taprooms and in front of the consumers. They also get to check out what other industry folks are doing.

"Our brewers love talking directly to the consumer," said Amanda Jessen of Bonfire Brewing. "It gives them a direct line to what people like or don't like, what trends are here to stay and which ones are just passing fads."

Reactions from customers at tasting events can sometimes gauge a market's response to experimental beers, or in the case of 7 Hermits Brewing, it will be in response to their new cans. "We've had a very small presence in liquor stores in the last 2 years, but we're re-launching the package portion of our business the first week of June. This gives us the opportunity to interact with potential customers and speak to them about our brand and where we are headed," said Matt Marple of 7 Hermits Brewing Company.

Consumers can take advantage of the vast knowledge these brewers have regarding the flavor profiles of craft brews and what pairs well with all the types of barbeque being offered.

"Our flagship, Crazy Mountain Amber Ale, pairs exceptionally well with BBQ, whether tangy, hot, or spicy. This delightfully floral Amber displays a wonderful malt balance while still maintaining a profound hoppiness. It’s the perfect compliment to any BBQ flavoring you’ll find," said Andy Nottingham of Crazy Mountain Brewery.

"There are so many styles of beer and BBQ that makes pairing really fun. For the Memphis-style dry rub, or their lighter, tangier style sauce, you can't go wrong with a lighter porter or American stout. The vanilla notes tend to complement the strong smokiness of the meat, typically pork," said James Oelefein of Vail Brewing Company.

Take note of your favorite pairings and stock up on these brews by visiting the local breweries. For more information about the Microbrew Festival, go to http://www.beavercreek.com.