Colorado Brewer’s Fest had beer flowing despite rain

Sarah Ehrlich

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  • A volunteer raises a beer glass at the Snowbank Brewing booth at the Colorado Brewer’s Festival. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • The Colorado Brewer’s Festival is Northern Colorado’s premiere specialty beer tasting event. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • Volunteers helped serve beer to attendees at the Brewer’s festival. (Sarah Ehrlich | Collegian)

  • The Cymbols, a Fort Collins rock/blues band was Sunday afternoon’s entertainment at the Brewer’s Fest. (Sarah Ehrlich | Collegian)

  • “Big” Joe McQuain is a former CSU football player who’s love encompasses great barbecue. Big’s Meat Wagon travels all over Fort Collins for festivals and the beloved Food Truck rally’s that happen all over the city. McQuain aims to locally source his meats as much as possible. (Sarah Ehrlich | Collegian)

  • A volunteer pours a beer for a guest at the Funkwerks booth at the Colorado Brewer’s Festival. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • A volunteer hands a beer to a guest at the Intersect Brewing booth at the Colorado Brewer’s Festival. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • A volunteer pours a beer for a guest at the Gilded Goat booth at the Colorado Brewer’s Festival. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • A volunteer pours a beer for a guest at the Odell Brewing booth at the Colorado Brewer’s Festival. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

  • A volunteer pours beers for guests at the Wibby Brewing booth at the Colorado Brewer’s Festival. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

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Even gloomy weather can’t stop Fort Collins folks from enjoying their summer festivals. 

The 29th annual Colorado Brewers Festival had 150+ Colorado beers, 40+ Colorado breweries, and ten hours of live music this past weekend despite thunderstorms and dark clouds closing out the festival on Sunday.

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Known as Northern Colorado’s premier specialty beer tasting event, the Brewers Festival brings many Fort Collins breweries together to share experiences and a love for beer. Gourmet food vendors paired perfectly with the brews, one being Big’s Meat Wagon, which had a steady flow of customers all weekend ready for BBQ to be piled on their plates. 

“I try and get my meat as locally sourced as possible,” said Big’s Meat Wagon owner and CSU alumni, “Big” Joe McQuain. “We have this nice tri-tip roast from JBS in Greeley that’s always popular.” 

a man smiles and slices barbecued meat.
“Big” Joe McQuain is a former CSU football player who’s love encompasses great barbecue. Big’s Meat Wagon travels all over Fort Collins for festivals and the beloved Food Truck rally’s that happen all over the city. McQuain aims to locally source his meats as much as possible.

We all know New Belgium and Odell’s, but along with classic food pairings, the festival showcased many small breweries getting their foot in the brewing industry’s door. 

Soul Squared Brewing is a “farm built” brewery located north of Fort Collins and west of Wellington where they brew right on the farm property. The brewery uses hops grown just feet away from the brew kettles and also collaborate with agricultural entities such as the Colorado Malting Company. This was their third year at the festival.

“This weekend has had great music and a good crowd,” said Jay Shambo, head brewer and co-owner of Soul Squared Brewing. “People who bought tickets for the Friday night summit got to enjoy beers no one else could. All the brewers served one special beer, and we brought our beet saison, from the beets that we grew, juiced and mixed with our beer.”

Another small brewery who participated in the festival just got their start a year and a half ago. Head brewer of the Gilded Goat Brewery, Charlie Hoxmeier started home brewing while earning his doctorate in Microbiology from CSU. The brewery served their Nokhu IPA which is the flagship beer of their taproom and Chivo de Oro, which is a Jalapeno-Lime Mexican Lager that they brew for summertime.

(Ashley Potts | Collegian)

Hoxmeier and his family shied away from their then-current jobs to start a family business that is now the Gilded Goat Brewery. 

“My family and I traveled all over Europe and saw a lot of animal themes in bars,” Hozmeier said. “We wanted to use that and though a goat represented the Colorado lifestyle, adventurous and bold. There’s a lot of a good beer in town, so we had to start off strong and unique as a business.”

Brewing festivals are happening all over Colorado this summer and fall and can be found at www.coloradocraftbrews.com/beer-festivals. 

Collegian reporter Sarah Ehrlich can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @sarahehrlich96. 

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