Arapahoe Basin Ski Area hosts Festival of the Brewpubs
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is a favorite spot for springtime activities, especially before the trails dry out and summer events start. To round out a season’s worth of activities, the ski area is holding its 15th annual Festival of the Brewpubs on Sunday, May 29, hosting more than a dozen breweries, live music and outdoor food stations.
“It’s a serious festival atmosphere, it’s awesome,” said Adrienne Saia Isaac, marketing and communications manager with A-Basin. “When the weather is nice and word of mouth is out there, and also the Summit Stage is running, so people don’t have to drive — it’s like the perfect confluence of events on a Memorial Day weekend to make this thing a success.”
Boasted by the Basin as its largest party of the year, the annual festival draws hundreds of beer drinkers to the base area. The last few years, organizers have ordered 700 mugs and sold out. This year, the Basin will have 800 mugs plus more for VIP, Isaac said.
“It’s grown tremendously,” Isaac said. “Not only have we added more breweries, but we’ve added that VIP section, and increased the capacity every season.”
New in 2015, the VIP section will once again this year offer a separate tasting area outside on the 6th Alley Bar and Grill’s Perch with small batch brews from Bakers Brewery, Broken Compass, Wynkoop and Tivoli Brewing Co. that are unavailable with general admission.
“They are doing very small batch brews, so it’s super cool to have two local microbrews — in addition to Pug’s and Dillon Dam who have supported us for several years — it’s really great to have these two newer breweries come up and participate,” Isaac said.
This will be the first time Bakers Brewery will be at the festival, although co-owner and brewmaster Cory Forster has participated with different outlets every year. He plans to bring a rum-barrel aged version of the Scuba Dooba Dubbel, a Summit County brewers collaboration beer.
“I put a couple pounds of tart cherries in it, with probably about 45 gallons of the Scuba Dooba Dubbel,” Forster said. “It’s really good — nice tart cherry flavor … little soft vanilla note from the time in the barrel. It was in there about five months, so it’s picked up the flavor. It’s got a little bit of that rum heat to it but it’s really smooth, creamy delicious.”
He will also be bringing a Breckenridge bourbon barrel-aged Belgian rye pale ale. It’s really big on the rye, with a zesty peppery rye flavor, Forster said, with honey vanilla wood notes that helps balance out the pepper of the rye.
Broken Compass will be bringing their Coconut Porter and Ginger Pale Ale. Brewer and co-owner Jason Ford said they have participated in this festival since the brewery has been open for the last two years because they all love the ski area.
There will also be appetizers and finger food included with the purchase of a VIP pass, including chicken skewers with peanut sauce, roasted corn and crab dip with flat bread and veggies, pork sliders with fried onions and pickle and brat sliders.
General admission tickets are $30 for beer sampling with 13 breweries from noon to 4 p.m. and a commemorative mug. A valid government-issued ID will be required, and ski passes will not be accepted to verify age. 2015-16 ski passes are still good for skiing and riding at the Basin in the spring.
Breweries that will be participating are Pug Ryans, Ska Brewing, Lefthand Brewing, Elevation Beer Company, Oskar Blues, Deschutes Brewery, Upslope Brewing, Colorado Native, Breckenridge Brewery, Dillon Dam Brewery, Odell Brewing Company, Avery Brewing Company and Great Divide.
Food stations will feature a variety of barbecue including pork sandwiches, Colorado Native beer brats and platters, and food tickets can be purchased for $1 per ticket during mug purchase or in the Will Call area.
Isaac Points’ Jakarta Band will perform from 1–4 p.m. From Denver, the band plays a variety of music from disco, soul and hip-hop to soft rock.
The Summit Stage will be running throughout the day up to the Basin to provide free transportation. This is the last day the bus will be running from Keystone to A-Basin and will leave River Run in Keystone at 55 minutes after the hour until 4:55 p.m. The last bus will leave A-Basin at 5:10 p.m. to go back to Keystone.
“It’s the only beer fest I know of where you can still go skiing and snowboarding,” Forster said. “With the added excitement of drinking at 10,800 feet, so be prepared to catch a ride home.”
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