Big Beers festival includes more than a dozen educational seminars |

Big Beers festival includes more than a dozen educational seminars

Summit Daily staff report
Rachel Ponce, owner of Bend Yoga & Movement Studio in Chicago, leads the 2016 Yoga of Brewing seminar. This year's yoga instructors are Kim Fuller, of In Your Element, and Bobby L’Heureux.
Special to the Daily |

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What: Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival

When: Thursday, Jan. 5, through Saturday, Jan. 7

Where: Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center, 620 Village Road, Breckenridge

Cost: Commercial Tasting tickets are $75, which includes entrance to all 13 seminars. Reserved seminar seating is $15 per seminar

More information: Visit

The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival has put together a schedule of educational seminars and workshops for craft beer fans in Breckenridge at Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center, Jan. 5-7. Each Commercial Tasting ticket purchased includes general admission to all 13 seminars offered over the weekend.

The seminars

Some are for serious homebrewers and pro brewers, such as “Discovering Fruit & Fruit Flavors in Brewing,” with Steven Pauwels, brewmaster for Boulevard Brewing Co., or “Brewing Strong Beers of Belgian and German Origin,” with 2017 featured brewmasters Phil Leinhart, of Brewery Ommegang, and Florian Kuplent, of Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

Other seminars and workshops are simply fun, with some education thrown in, such as “Who Needs Milk When You Can Have Beer with Your Cookies?” led by “Dr.” Bill Sysak with Wild Barrel Brewing Co. and featuring Mountain Top Cookie Shop cookies.

Or find out how brewers brew using some crazy fruits and vegetables with John Holl, editor of All About Beer magazine, and his brewing panel. Have you ever wondered why everyone doesn’t automatically love bitter or sour beers? Listen to Dr. Nicole Garneau with DraughtLab LLC explain it scientifically.

There are also several free seminars throughout the weekend that are purely experiential, such as “The Yoga of Brewing,” with yoga instructors Kim Fuller, of In Your Element, and Bobby L’Heureux, and the Cigar Pairing Experience, with Brewers Association director Paul Gatza, Greg and Bridgette Geiger and cigar maestro Clay Carlton, of Palma Cigars.

Dig in deep with “Brewery Terroir,” hosted by four geographically diverse brewers who experimented by brewing the exact same recipe and adapting it to their own immediate environment. Learn about and taste the different nuances with Jeffrey Stuffings, of Jester King Brewery; Chase Healey, of American Solera; Phil Markowski, of Two Roads Brewing Co.; and Nile Zacherle, of Mad Fritz Brewing Co.

Other offerings include “Unearthing Ancient Styles,” courtesy of Aaron Heaton from Grimm Brothers Brewhouse and his panel; learning tips and tricks to pair with a full meal with’s Beer + Food Experience, courtesy of the dynamic duo of Brewers Association Craft Beer program director Julia Herz and Brewers Association and executive chef Adam Dulye; or find out how craft brewers continue to come up with new stuff in “Experimenting with your Local Maltster.”

Focus on malt

The focus is nearly always on hops when beer ingredients are discussed, and this year, the Big Beers Festival turns to its sibling ingredient, malt. New to the Big Beers festival this year will be local Colorado Malting Co. president Jason Cody and Massachusetts Valley Malt co-founder and maltster Andrea Stanley. Both have done experiments to show at the Experimental Brewing Seminar.

John Bricker and Will Kreutzer have created many Three Barrel beers with Colorado Malting Co., and will be showcasing three identical beers brewed with different barleys. John Mallett, director of Brewing Operations for Bell’s Brewery in Michigan, has literally written the book about malt, “Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse.” Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, will round out this seminar with a comparison of pilsners.

Those interested in certification of their beer knowledge can learn about the Cicerone Program at a free Big Beers’ kickoff workshop on Friday, Jan. 6, at 8:30 a.m. Those ready to take their Certified Cicerone Exam can sign up ahead of time and come Friday afternoon to be tested.

For more information about the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival, or to purchase tickets, visit

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