Vail’s Big Beers Fest announces featured brewmasters
VAIL, Colorado The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival is pleased to announce its featured brewmasters for the ninth annual festival weekend. International brewmaster honors will be held by Vinnie Cilurzo, owner and brewmaster of Russian River Brewing Co. Matt Brophy, manager of brewing operations for Flying Dog Brewery, will co-host the Jan. 8 – 10 event as the Colorado brewmaster. This weekend of world class beers from around the globe hosts more than 750 participants and attendees and features a plethora of dinners, seminars and educational events.Held once again at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, the Big Beers Festival will feature Cilurzo and Brophy hosting individual seminars during the commercial tasting on Saturday afternoon, January 10, and in a double beer pairing Brewmasters Dinner on Jan. 9. Both will also be serving their beer at the commercial tasting, which features more than 175 international big, experimental and Belgian-style beers.Cilurzo, who owns Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, Cali. with his wife, Natalie, is known for his adventurous brewing techniques and has been credited with the invention of the Double IPA. He promises to feature some newer creations, including beer created with wild yeast strains and beer fermented in wine barrels, in addition to favorites such as Pliny the Elder throughout the weekend.Brophy joined the ranks of Aspen-born Flying Dog Brewery while both were still in Colorado, and claims that part of his original inspiration for brewing was hearing Charlie Papazian on Radio Times, an NPR radio show. Brophy will be showcasing his Canis Major Series of big beers, along with some other purposeful, provocative and irreverent award-winning and adventurous beers over the course of the Big Beers Festival. Both Brophy and Flying Dog Brewery have recently relocated to Frederick, MD.In addition to the brewmaster dinner on Jan. 9, Big Beers Weekend includes a homebrew competition judging, an introduction to the Cicerone program and a double beer pairing brewmasters dinner also known as Calibration Dinner, with Sam Calagione and Adam Avery on Thursday night to officially begin Big Beers Weekend. Saturdays seminars include a food and beer pairing challenge hosted by Julia Herz of the Brewers Association, and the Brewing Outside the Box: Brewers Gone Wild! experimental brewing seminar sponsored by White Labs Yeast Co. This years Brewers Gone Wild! theme is Micro to Macro highlighting four guest brewmasters discussing different brewing environments from brewpub (micro) to large scale craft brewing and mega breweries (macro). The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival weekend actively supports the efforts of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, a local organization that helps individuals who live and work in the Vail Valley that have critical financial need due to medical catastrophes, accidents or long-term illnesses. For more information, visit http://www.bigbeersfestival.com.