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Colorado Brewer’s Festival brings entertainment to Fort Collins for 28th year

The 28th Annual Colorado Brewer’s Festival, located in Washington Park and organized by the Downtown Business Association of Fort Collins, occurred June 23-25. The oldest craft beer festival in the state of Colorado featured free music, food vendors and many local breweries.

“Over the past eight years, the Colorado Brewer’s Festival has become more intimate,” said Kim Palmar, one of the employees of the event that was running the VIP section. “It’s not about getting wasted; it’s about quality beers, quality breweries and quality music. It’s one of the best and well known brewer’s festivals around.”

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The festival brings together people from all walks of life for the shared love of beer. Whether people were attending, working or volunteering at the event, everybody seemed to have a good time.

“The volunteers here don’t work for any of the business,” said Sean Nook, owner of the Black Bottle Brewing Company. “The people volunteer here for the love of beer.”

The event has a welcoming environment, and despite the showcasing of beer being the main point of the festival, is family friendly with people even traveling from outside of the city to attend the event.

“I’m a family man,” Nook said. “I’m able to bring my kids here because the event is kid friendly, and that’s something I really appreciate. I’ve been going to this festival since I’ve been old enough to taste beer. It’s pretty cool to be apart of it. It’s a huge draw to beer fans, and it draws in so many people. The Hilton sells out of hotel rooms because this event is larger than just the city of Fort Collins.”

Black Bottle Brewing Company opened five years ago, and it’s the brewery’s fifth time attending the festival. For the first half of the afternoon, they sampled Tropical Depression, a toasted coconut IPA. For the afternoon, they sampled Tutti Fruiti, a peach kettle sour beer that got frequent requests before the sampling of it even began.

Coopersmith’s Pub and Brewing, which opened in 1989, also attended the event, sampling one of their most famous beers in the early afternoon. This beer, titled What-a-melon, is a golden ale with watermelon juice.

“It’s our flagship IPA,” said Mike Hiath, a brewer for Coppersmith’s. “It won a silver medal in the world beer competition, and it’s our oldest recipe at Coopersmith’s.”

There were also newer breweries at the festival. Gilded Goat Brewing Company, which opened four months ago on College and Horsetooth, was sampling their Altanator, a German style pale ale. Charlie Hoxmeier and Chris Gallegos, the founders of Gilded Goat Brewing Company, said they enjoyed their first year at the festival.

“I like how they highlight local Fort Collins breweries,” said Hoxmeier, referring to the layout of the local breweries being more central in the park. “The event is well organized.”

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The famous breweries in Fort Collins, New Belgium Brewing and Odell Brewing Co were also at the event. New Belgium sampled a Trippel Belgian Style Ale and Odell sampled Drumroll and 90 Shilling; both were enjoyed by the crowd.

The Colorado Brewer’s Festival was a good experience for the vendors and attendees.

“Overall, the tents, the people and the beer is awesome” said one attendee, Brittany Valdez. “The festival has been amazing.”

Stop by on Sunday for the second and final day of the Colorado Brewer’s Festival, with good beer samples, many other vendors, and a total of ten hours of free music.

Collegian Reporter Julia Trowbridge can be reached at juliatrowbridge@gmail.com and on Twitter @chapin_jules.

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