Let’s be honest, Denver isn’t lacking in the celebration department when it comes to exalting craft beer. We are all too familiar with the likes of the Denver Beer Fest, Winter/Summer Brew Fest, and the incomparable Great American Beer Festival to name a few. But when it comes down to it, none have really put the spotlight on Denver proper brewers like the Denver [only] Beer Festivus did this past weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, roughly 500 beer enthusiasts, 19 breweries and some of Denver’s top organizations and vendors occupied the McNichol’s Building at the first annual Denver [only] Beer Festivus. Comrades in libations were graced by Denver’s finest including Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew, Wynkoop Brewing Company, TRVE Brewing, Strange Brewing, Crooked Stave, Renegade Brewing and more. Taps were pouring, cheers were being shared, and knowledge was flowing as attendees filed into the art-centered space.
Before going any further, I think it would be prudent to mention that, even though I attended the Festivus, I would hardly consider myself a beer enthusiast. In fact, many of you will surely admonish me for what I’m about to say, but here it goes: I think beer is pretty gross. The Denver [only] Beer Festivus, however, was more than just an excursion into beer for me; it was a gander into a vibrant and flourishing community that comes together not only for their love of craft beer, but for their eagerness to support the creativity and talent of the very brewers, without whom, the Festivus would have never been possible.
My highlights? Brewers like OMF and Copper Kettle beckoning me over to imbibe in their Saison and Mexican Chocolate Stout, respectively. Okay, I know I said I wasn’t a beer fan, but OMF’s Saison hooked me. My disdain for chocolate made it hard for me to take more than a few sips of the Copper Kettle’s Mexican Chocolate Stout. However, Deb, a Festivus-goer, said “Copper Kettle’s Mexican Chocolate Stout [was] the highlight for her.” Deb certainly wasn’t the only one singing praises over this dark, mouth-filling pleasure. With this being said, I’m challenging you, our readers, and Copper Kettle to get my palette up to par. Who’s up for it? Another highlight was the surprising level of good behavior in the face of so much booze. That’s not to say that attendees didn’t get their drink on, but they did maintained a level of decorum worth rivaling most wine events I’ve ever attended.
What wasn’t at this festival? Cringe-worthy, sobering long lines slowing attendees down from partaking in all of the offerings during the Denver [only] Beer Festivus. There was something magical and easy about walking up to the Hogshead Brewery booth, grabbing a taste of Lake Lightening, and getting schooled on their brewery without the fear of holding others up from experiencing Hogshead for the first time.
Imbibe Denver and Denver off the Wagon took the beer festival scene to another level of amazing with DJ Largechild. How so? Largechild provided a bevy of beats ranging from PYT and Girls Just Want to Have Fun to Paul Revere and a dash of Guns N’ Roses. To top things off, DJ Largechild ended the Festivus with a booty-shaking good time. I would venture to say that this is probably the only time Denver has seen a beer festival reach it’s denouement with a dance party. You’re welcome, Denverites!
You were probably hoping for more of a review of the beers at the festival. While I can’t blame you, I also acknowledge that there are far more qualified individuals to assuage your desires of sudsy education than myself. Brewtally Insane touted how “Miracles Happen at the Denver Only Beer Festivus,” and Lilly Sue is serving up a great resource of pictures, descriptions, and links in her Festivus recap “Beer & Cupcakes.”
Until next year, Wagoners, keep it sleazy. We look forward to seeing you at the 2013 Denver [only] Beer Festival.