Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival brings back summer flavor for 13th year in Beaver Creek
Special to the Daily
BEAVER CREEK — Nothing says summer like an open-air picnic set to music and served with craft brews. Every year for Memorial Day weekend, Beaver Creek Village transforms into Colorado’s very own backyard barbecue to celebrate the start of a delicious season.
“Blues, Brews & BBQ stands out as an annual Memorial Day weekend activity because all the locals are back from mud season, school is out and there is great food, beer and music to celebrate the start of summer,” said Liz Rackoff, owner of Batter Cupcakes in Avon.
The event offers free admission to Beaver Creek Plaza, where food and beverage will be available for purchase. Music accompanies the feasting, and this year’s 13th annual festival will include headliners John Mayall and Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, with opening acts Gary Allegretto and Shari Puorto.
Each of the barbecue vendors at Blues, Brews & BBQ will be eligible to win the People’s Choice competition. Visitors will be given one token each day for voting and will cast their votes throughout the weekend at the Guest Services tent by Beaver Creek Sports in Beaver Creek Village. Voting is open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.
“The votes will be counted, and the winner will be announced on the main stage at 4:10 p.m. on Sunday,” said Stacie Mesuda, senior communications coordinator at Beaver Creek Resort. “The top three winners receive a trophy, prize money — $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place — and bask in all the barbecue glory.”
Bonnie Q BBQ from Dillon will be featuring its award-winning St. Louis-style ribs and smoked cheddar mac and cheese, and Landshark Catering, of Eagle, will feature some wild game items, including smoked elk sausage, wild boar pulled pork gyros and coffee-rubbed bacon-wrapped chicken skewers.
Riley Romanin, owner of Hooked and Revolution restaurants in Beaver Creek, said Blues, Brews & BBQ is an ideal way to kick off summer every year. Hooked will be serving a peach wood-smoked seafood paella, and Revolution will feature a whole suckling pig.
Spruce Saddle executive chef Matt LaWare will plate honey Sriracha chicken wings with fresh pear and smoked barbecue pulled pork grilled cheese tortas.
“Spruce Saddle has been a barbecue vendor in the past, but it’s been a few years since they’ve been at the festival,” Mesuda said. “Chef LaWare is excited to be back on the Blues, Brews & BBQ scene in 2016.”
On Sunday, May 29, amateur grill masters will be able to showcase their talents at the Big Green Egg Backyard BBQ Competition from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Covered Bridge. Teams are $85 for up to three people, and spectators are free.
The Beaver Creek Microbrew Festival is one of the largest, exclusively Colorado craft beer tastings in the state. The festival will feature more than 30 Colorado-based breweries and is held on Saturday, May 28 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Centennial Park — the lawn located at the top of the ice rink escalator.
“Blues and Brews was the first beer festival we ever participated in, and it serves as the kickoff to festival season in Colorado for us,” said Andy Jessen, co-founder and manager of Bonfire Brewing in Eagle. “It offers more value than your typical beer fest, given the added component of the barbecue competition, and we’ve always enjoyed it.”
Bonfire Brewing plans to pour its ColoRadler — a Kolsch-style ale brewed with fresh lemon zest and mint, as well as its Pink-I Raspberry India Pale Ale.
“We are likely to bring some special-edition, barrel-aged bombers, as well,” Jessen said.
Other hyper-local breweries will include Vail Brewing Co., pouring two of its staple beers and summer favorites — the Gore Creek IPA and the Kore Shot Kolsch.
“We always look forward to talking to our friends from other breweries in the state when we go to beer festivals, so we’re excited to welcome them to our home turf and to show them and the guests a great time,” said James Oefelein, marketing manager for Vail Brewing Co.
Visiting Colorado breweries include Aspen Brewing Co., Pug Ryan’s Brewing Co. of Dillon, FATE Brewing Co. out of Boulder, Grimm Brothers Brewhouse from Loveland, Odd 13 Brewing from Lafayette, Holidaily Brewing Co. in Golden, Renegade Brewing Co. out of Denver and Joyride Brewing Co. from Edgewater, to name a few of many.
Aspen Brewing Co. is planning to bring its newest beer, Silver City Session Ale — to be released in cans in June — as well as This Season’s Blonde and Independence Pass Ale IPA.
Gluten-free brewing company Holidaily will be pouring its Favorite Blonde Ale and Fat Randy’s IPA. Joyride Brewing will have specialty beers flowing, including So Fresh and So Cream with Cranberries, Give Peak a Chance Berliner Weisse, Bee’s Knees Honey Belgian Tripel and The Director New England-style Double IPA.
“There are few things that are as Colorado as kicking off the summer season with a beer festival in the mountains,” said Dave Bergen, brewmaster and owner of Joyride Brewing Co. “Good people, good views, good brews — what’s better than that?”
Visitors are able to leave the Microbrew Festival to enjoy their brew and barbecue simultaneously. For those who are driving from the event, stop by the ticking desk to get a free designated driver wristband.
Tickets for the festival are $40 per person in advance and $50 per person at the door. A portion of the microbrew ticket price benefits the Vail Veterans Program.
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