Looking for something a little different to do this summer while visiting your favorite mountain town? How about a “hop” from beer fest to beer fest? Colorado brims each summer with great craft brews in small, but mighty places – mountain towns tucked away in pristine corners of the Rockies. So many summer beer festivals and often so little time that it’s hard to decide which ones to attend and which to skip. To help guide your palate, we here at Christy Sports have brewed up our own list of some of the top mountain town beer festivals for 2018. Take a look at these, listed in order of date, rather than rank..
Top 10 Summer Colorado Mountain Town Beer Fests
Snowmass Rendezvous Craft Beer Festival – June 9, 2018
Kick off the summer of beer fest “hopping” at the Snowmass Rendezvous Craft Beer Festival, June 9th, in Snowmass Village. In its third year, this unique festival summons 30 Colorado craft breweries from across the state up into the mountains of Snowmass for a perfect day of beer tasting and live music. The event stretches throughout Snowmass Mall and Base Village with fun-filled activities on Fanny Hill and the Gondola. Enjoy the sunset and a free concert after the tasting event as this year’s headliner The Drunken Hearts will be playing slope side. Experience good beer and good tunes right in the heart of Snowmass!
Lake Dillon Beer Festival – June 9, 2018
It’s the setting and ambiance that make this festival a bit more intimate and special, held at Dillon Marina Park with snow capped peaks and Lake Dillon in the backdrop. The 8th Annual Lake Dillon Beer Festival kicks off Saturday, June 9th, with the Colorado Brewers Guild Beer Tasting. Over 25 Colorado breweries will gather to serve up their tasty craft suds. Live music will round out the day’s festivities. So, take a drive, stop in and share a pint!
Vail Craft Beer Classic – June 15-17, 2018
Staged to become the ultimate mountain beer experience, the Vail Craft Beer Classic is anything and everything but a typical beer festival. Pairing beer with adventure, this beer fest is considered Colorado’s highest altitude beer tasting combined with four days of adventures – such as paired beer dinners, hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing with a craft brewer, or educational seminars for both novice beer samplers and beer geeks alike.
The festivities begin Friday evening, June 15th, with the Sip at the Summit Grand Tasting on Vail Mountain. This high altitude tasting includes a barbeque and beer tasting, featuring 30 craft breweries from across Colorado. Highlights of the event will be the Toast of Vail on Saturday, June 16th, held in Vail Village, a Father’s Day Beerunch on Sunday, June 17th, concluding with the After Party, also on June 17th, along with a slew of beer-paired adventures in between. Whether you are more on the adventurous side and wish to hike, bike, or fly fish with a master craft brewer, or prefer to indulge your beer geekdom, this festival has a little something for everyone!
Attack of the Big Beers – June 22-24, 2018 – Copper Mountain
Colorado’s only craft beer and film festival, Attack of the Big Beers, returns to Copper Mountain for its second year June 23rd and 24th. The event takes place at the base of Copper Mountain Resort and features craft beers from around the state and beyond. Highlights include “big beers” – those brewed with “high original gravity” – referring to alcohol content measured in the early brewing process. Professional brewers will also compete in the Brewzilla Competition for the Brewzilla Cup, the award for the biggest, boldest, baddest beer of the festival.
Sponsored by 10 Barrell Brewing Co., Copper Mountain Film Festival presents two evenings of short and feature films as a part of the beer fest. Featured will be special guest speakers, Q&As with regional filmmakers, plus a screenwriting contest hosted by the Denver Filmmakers Collective. Make a weekend of it and sample more than 75 craft brews while enjoying live music and a variety of films from Rocky Mountain filmmakers – all in the heart of Copper Mountain!
Reds, Whites & Brews in the Boat – June 23, 2018 – Steamboat Springs
Considered a top “don’t miss” summer event, Reds, Whites, & Brews in the Boat will take over the streets of downtown Steamboat Springs Saturday, June 23rd. This combined beer and wine tasting event brings together some of the best cold craft brews and fine international wines to kick off summer. This year’s festival features an array of wine and over 20 craft beer tastings, along with local and regional food vendors, retail vendors, live music, and much much more. If you are visiting the Yampa Valley area this summer, kick it off right with a glass of wine or cold brew while enjoying the beauty of downtown Steamboat Springs!
Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival – July 7, 2018
If this list was in order of rank, rather than by date, the Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival would certainly be near the top. In its 13th year, this beer fest is considered one of the premiere summer events in Breckenridge, hosting over 40 breweries including Breckenridge’s very own Broken Compass and Breckenridge Brewery. This year’s festival takes place outside the Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center at the Copper Top Plaza, and features tastings, live music, a VIP area, as well as a wide selection of local food and retail vendors – all surrounded by amazing views of the mountains and Beaver Run. Enjoy a weekend of great live music, views, and brews from some of Colorado’s finest breweries and beyond.
Keystone Bluegrass & Beer Festival – August 4-5, 2018
There’s nothing like the sounds of bluegrass in harmony with the tapping of hundreds of kegs filled to the brim with some of the best craft beer around. Keystone will bring these wonders of Appalachia to the Rockies as it kicks of its 22nd annual Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival August 4th and 5th at River Run. Festivities include downhome cooking, mountain music, and more than 40 microbrews from across the state, each showcasing their own blend of barley and hops. Breweries in attendance range from big names like New Belgium to new, local upcomers like Bakers Brewery in Silverthorne. So, raise a pint . . . or two and toast Colorado’s longest running beer and bluegrass festival!
Winter Park Beer Festival – August 4, 2018
Another “don’t miss” event for beer aficionados, music lovers, and festival goers, the 9th Annual Winter Park Beer Festival will be held Saturday, August 4th, at Hideway Park in downtown Winter Park. This quaint mountain beer fest offers unlimited tasting from 40+ micro brewers, alongside local food and retail vendors and live music from three different acts throughout the day. As the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce boasts, “Come stay and play at Winter Park!”
Mt. Crested Butte Chili and Beer Fest – September 8, 2018
“Hot Chili and Cold Beer” – that’s the theme of this mountain beer fest. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Mt. Crested Butte Chili and Beer Festival will be held Saturday, September 8th, at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. With locally made chili, tasty craft beer, live music, and beautiful mountain scenery, Chili and Beer Fest has become a well-loved tradition for locals and visitors alike.
Telluride Brews and Blues Festival – September 14-16
Shortly before the Autumn Equinox, the Telluride Brews and Blues Festival is a worthy farewell to summer. This three-day event held in Telluride’s town park features an impressive mix of craft brewers from Colorado’s Four Corners region to New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah master brewers. The music list is just as impressive, celebrating a mix of blues, funk, jam bands, indie, rock, and yes, even gospel and soul performances. The festival has featured big acts as eclectic as Bonnie Raitt, Drive-By-Truckers, and B.B. King. And don’t forget the wide variety of food and craft vendors, children’s activities, late night shows, and much more! All this located in what is considered one of the most scenic settings in Colorado . . . you won’t want to go home!
With a fully packed summer of beer fest “hopping,” if you should still find time for more weekend beer adventures, check out these other beer fests worthy of honorable mention: Leadville BBQ & Brew Festival – considered the world’s highest BBQ competition and beer festival at 10,152 feet – June 22-23, Harrison Avenue in Leadville; Colorado Brewers Rendezvous July 14, Riverside Park in Salida; and finally, if you are headed back to the city at summer’s end, don’t miss the Daddy of them all – Great American Beer Festival, September 20-22 at the Colorado Convention Center, downtown Denver.