With GABF about on us, the festival scene is on our minds again. David had a go at ticket sales this year and I had a shot at them last year. I think with all of the hubbub surrounding scalpers and the embittered ranting around Sour Fest, we might be losing sight of something important. Beer festivals are supposed to be fun. This thought came to me as I was drinking a small taster of Fat Tire at a park in Winter Park over the weekend. The fourth annual Winter Park Beer Festival was a really nice Saturday that kind of reminded of my early days as a beer dork.
As I sat in the sun sipping beers with my wife, I had a strange realization. I have become more involved in the beer culture in Denver and that in all of the blog posts, hand-shaking, meeting and greeting, and other things, I have begun to take myself way too seriously. If I am not challenging my palate and tasting rare and unusual beers, I whine about it. That is why I am always in the middle of the argument about the particulars of ticket prices, etc. I feel like I am entitled to go so I can hob with the other nobs.
A few years ago, we and a group of friends were constantly going to mountain beer festivals. The Winter Park festival is a fine example of a laid back enjoyable festival. There is no pretense and it is simply, fun. The music is always sufficiently mountain-y and the food vendors can sling something to fill the beer munchies that creep up one tiny pour at a time. It is not likely at these fests that you will find your next “desert island beer” but there is beer in huge supply and you don’t have to worry about running out of Cascade before you get out of the Pliny line. As far as the beers that were available, there was nothing to complain about. I drank a ton of Deviant Dale’s from Oskar Blues and Grasshop-Ah from Colorado Cider Co. Hardly things that I would turn down on a normal day.
In a way, that is my point. Here in Colorado, very few things suck. There is delicious beer everywhere and there are still a lot of these little festivals going on. In looking at a few lists online, there have been a huge number small local festivals since June. Estes Park, Winter Park, Lake Dillon, Erie. Erie! I doubt that people are stabbing Brewer’s Association employees to get tickets for that! You should go to these. Hell, I should go to more of them. Seriously, the fact that I have updated my router and planned ticket backups in advance to get into some festivals while I have never bothered to go to Hops For Habitat is ridiculous. I love the Plains Conservation Center and I should have been giving them my money.
Anyway, I suppose this is not at all about the Winter Park Beer Festival. That fest is awesome. It is in a good place and the people are nice. Go to it next year and hang out with us. Until then, do yourself a real service by finding the next one in a town that you like and drink huge quantities of a beer that you have had a thousand times. Don’t forget to lay in the grass and look at the sky. You might just be the happiest person in the world.