Third Annual Southwest Beer Trip: Blues and Brews

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To cap off our third year of going to Southwest Colorado for a week of beer, friends and the outdoors, we headed over to the little mountain town of Telluride for the Blues and Brews festival. I've been a long time fan of that particular festival, but my fiancée Darcie had never been. Pairing amazing blues and rock music with one of the best beer festivals is a win-win in my book.blues-and-brews-music-4Con Brioblues-and-brews-music-3 blues-and-brews-music-8 blues-and-brews-music-5Thanks to SBG Productions, Bill Kight and Patrick Shehan for all their incredible hospitality during the weekend. That crew knows how to put on a great party.Friday might have been my favorite day for the music. Things kicked off with Con Brio, who pushed the tempo with a ton of energy and some seriously awesome tunes. Then, fittingly at 4:20, Shakey Graves came on stage. We first saw Shakey a few years ago and while his appearance has toned down a bit, his music still rocks the house. At the Friday late night Juke Joint, we actually walked right by him not noticing who he was at first.blues-and-brews-music-2Friday's headliner was quite easily one of the better performances I have witnessed in my lifetime. Joe Walsh, of Beach Boys, The Eagles and other classic bands fame, performed to a packed house. What an experience.The Photo Pit was packed for Joe Walshblues-and-brews-music-9 blues-and-brews-music-6Then came Saturday, which is notorious for its Grand Tasting. Those white tents in the previous pictures now house up to 8 breweries each, brimming with some of the best craft beer around. One particular treat: Sweetwater Brewing out of Atlanta. It's a little known fact that Telluride is the only place West of the Mississippi where one can purchase Sweetwater. We're big fans, and it's great having founder Freddy Bensch at the fest as well!Nice to see Ninkasi representing the Pacific Northwest.Since the gates opened a half hour before the fest started, not much swag was left over by the time everyone was sampling the beer.blues-and-brews-beer-fest-3 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-4Best of Fest helped keep people seeking out their favorite beer.blues-and-brews-beer-fest-6 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-7The eventual winners of the Best of the Fest, Avalanche Brewing of Silverton, CO. Check them out at GABF in a few short weeks!blues-and-brews-beer-fest-9 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-10 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-11 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-12 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-13 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-14 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-15 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-16 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-17 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-18 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-19 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-20 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-21 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-22 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-23 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-24 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-26 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-28 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-29 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-30 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-31 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-32 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-33Yes, there were some pumpkin beers there, but we tried to avoid them...blues-and-brews-beer-fest-35 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-36One issue with having a big wait between setup and start time is foam...Fiction was not alone in having to battle foamy kegs.blues-and-brews-beer-fest-41blues-and-brews-beer-fest-52blues-and-brews-beer-fest-38 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-39 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-40 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-42 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-48 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-47 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-44 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-43 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-49 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-50 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-51 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-53 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-61 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-60 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-58 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-57 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-56Fiction's hazy NE IPA was all foam...but it was still popular.blues-and-brews-beer-fest-62 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-63 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-65 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-68 blues-and-brews-beer-fest-67Saturday night was Gary Clark Jr, and honestly, we were a bit toasted after the day long beer festival. One of the saving graces of Blues and Brews is the close proximity of camping. We headed back to camp and relaxed, while still enjoying all the songs of the evening. If you ever have a chance to head to Telluride for Blues and Brews, take it. It's a bucket list item for any Coloradan.