‘Tis the season for suds | VailDaily.com

‘Tis the season for suds

Daily Staff Report
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VAIL – Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival celebrates its seventh year honoring specialty beers Jan. 5-6 at Manor Vail Resort in Golden Peak.

The Big Beers Festival focuses on education and exposes attendees to a wide array of big-beer styles. Jan. 6 is the commercial tasting, where festival-goers can try more than 100 different international barleywines, strong ales and Belgian-style brews. The brews are poured in a small engraved snifter, a glass shape especially selected to heighten the savory experience. There will be educational seminars hosted by featured brewmasters, as well as food pairings scattered throughout the venue. Participating brewmasters include Hildegard van Ostaden, owner of Brouwerij De Leyeth; West Flanders of Belgium; and Brian Dunn, founder of Great Divide Brewing Co. in Denver.

On Jan. 5, the American Homebrewers Association’s Big Beers Homebrew Competition is judged. The winner, announced at the tasting Jan. 6, will receive a commercially produced batch of his or her winning recipe, and the kegs will be featured at Dry Dock Brewing in Aurora, the sponsoring brewpub, as well as other beer-serving establishments throughout Colorado.Also on tap is a brewmasters dinner Jan. 5. Host chef Kelly Liken, owner of Restaurant Kelly Liken, will pair five courses with a beer picked by a brewmaster. The dinner is intended to showcase the flexibility of beer with various types of cuisine.

For the dinner, Dunn will feature his Old Ruffian Barleywine and Hibernation Ale, both silver-medal winners for the Great Divide. Van Ostaden and her husband, Bas, will feature their Urthel line of Belgian beers, which are termed “Belgium’s Newest Cult Beer.” For information, visit http://www.BigBeersFestival.com or call High Point Brewing at 524-1092. The Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival benefits the Vail Valley Charitable Fund.

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