Yesterday we suggested that the commercial tasting a is just one of many ‘main events’ of the Vail Big Beers Festival. We presented some of the educational seminars, which for me, are some of my favorite moments of the fest because I like to geek out on all things beer, and it’s especially exciting to have many experts in the field lead the workshops. I’m not downplaying the commercial tasting at all though, it is indeed the culmination of the best beer festival I’ve ever been to. The beers that are available are top notch, very impressive, and many of the actual brewers are there to pour the beers for you. Today we’d like to give you a photo recap of the tasting portion of the festival and a few other special moments we had at other moments with friends. I’ll let the photos do most of the talking here.

As a quick promotional note, if you’ve not attended this event you really should put this on your bucket list. Make sure to go to the educational seminars as well, and book your reservations for those in advance.

Sam Adams Triple Bock from 1994, a lovely beer, which we sampled a few times.
Rob Widmer of Widmer Brothers and myself.
Nick Ison of Sierra Nevada. They brought a new Russian Imperian Stout called Narwhal that was very tasty.
Ska and Oskar Blues collaborative beer
Bess Dougherty, brewer at Wynkoop, had a lovely single hop and single malt Barleywine for tasting.

The Broncos were in the playoffs and the final game took place during the festival so the coordinators brought in a very large television. The game was a major hit and kept the banquet room a little less crowded. Unfortunately, as you well know, the Broncos lost in double overtime.

Unhappy Broncos fan.

One of the most exciting moments of the festival took place at the Bells table. I’m not sure if they “lost” their beer on purpose, but for a good hour they didn’t have any beer available. Out of nowhere a caravan of Bells beer showed up, they cracked open tons of bottles and people were practically climbing over each other to get a little sip of Raspberry Wild One. It was certainly a sight to behold and I got a good laugh out of the situation. The beer was good.

Looks like Isaac got a little.
Another major component of the festival is the homebrew competition. Pictured here are a number of the medal winners.
Our Colorado Springs pals John, Scott, Lori, and Bryan.
Our pal Nathan Levi working the Green Flash booth.

And here’s a few moments outside of the commercial tasting that were also very memorable. The photo above is a bottle of Odell’s Friek. The bar at the lodge was packed so we went outside into 5 degree weather to the fireplace and drank the bottle. It was a great beer and a great moment.

Vail has a pretty cool little alehouse appropriately called the Vail AleHouse. We drank there a couple times and had some pretty great tasting pizza. Here’s Isaac hanging out with Ro Guenzel, head brewer at Left Hand. Ro’s putting on the monkey hat.

Ro and Isaac decided to exchange shirts that night. After about an hour, however, Ro changed his mind and they switched back.

We were pretty happy to hang out with this dog at Bart & Yeti’s.

Cheers from (some of) the Focus on the Beer crew!

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