Three new brewers to watch at fifth annual Ed Fest today
EDWARDS — If hops and malts are your scene, then head to the fifth annual Ed Fest on Saturday. What started as a small gathering of brewers and breweries in The Riverwalk at Edwards has expanded to a festival that incorporates not just beer, but craft spirits as well; now it is held on the fields near Miller Ranch, which affords more space for the 65-plus breweries and distilleries that will be attending this year.
Looking at the lineup of breweries that will be attending this year’s Ed Fest, there are many names that might be unfamiliar. To give you a sneak peek of some of Colorado’s newest craft breweries, here are three to seek out at Ed Fest.
★ Mockery Brewing
Opened: November 2014
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Head Brewer: Zach Rabun
What it’s about: “Our focus is on taking traditional styles, like a Pilsner or a Scotch ale, and putting unique twists on them,” Rabun said. “We’ll use non-traditional ingredients or will brew it in a different style. We’re also using fresh ingredients, like we have a Palisade peach blonde that we’re doing here soon, using fresh Palisade peaches. We’re using whatever is available and fresh at the time.”
What they’re bringing: A Pilsner brewed with 200 pounds of grapefruit zest — “it’s a good, light summer drinking beer,” according to Rabun; and a salted Scotch, a traditional Scotch ale brewed with 64 ounces of organic sea salt and a newly-taped blueberry farmhouse ale.
Fun Fact: Mockery Brewing’s bar manager, Eric Rabun, used to live and work in Vail.
Opened: July 2014
Head Brewer: Ryan Skeels
What it’s about: “We focus on American and Belgian styles,” Skeels said. “Also sour beers and barrel aged beers.”
What they’re bringing: “We’re going to be bringing our Baere-liner Weisse, a German sour beer,” Skeels said. “We serve it with syrups in a traditional manner to knock out the tartness and add a herbal or fruity flavor.” Skeels will also bring one of their Belgian beers, probably a saison.
Fun Fact: The brewers at Baere Brewing met the Crazy Mountain Brewing folks at the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywine festival in Vail and were invited to Ed Fest.
Opened: June 2014
Fermentation Scientist: Luke Smith
What it’s about: A home brewer for more than a decade, Smith is also a former yeast microbiologist and research scientist. As a result of this blending, Smith designs each individual beer with a unique water profile and a unique yeast strain. Coda’s options include fruit beers, sours and double IPAs.
What they’re bringing: “Our flagship beer is called Sleepy Head, it’s a passion fruit Imperial Kolsch,” Smith said. “After being open four months, we were fortunate enough to get a silver medal at GABF (Great American Beer Festival) for that beer.” Other options that Smith mentioned include a pale ale or maybe the PB&J Porter. “That’s been very well received,” Smith said. “It was a one off. I love playing around and tapping into the culinary side sometimes.”
Fun Fact: Coda refers to the end of a passage of music. Beer and music are inextricably linked at Coda Brewing as every beer is tapped on the Coda stage in the brewery. Smith said, “The scientist in me is what builds the beer, the music promotes it.”
Ed Fest takes place Saturday with unlimited samplings for ticket holders from 3 to 6 p.m. The main headliner band, Drive By Truckers, will perform from 8 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $49 for day-of sales.