Distillers showcase their wares at Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival | SummitDaily.com

Distillers showcase their wares at Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival

Summit Daily staff report

Get your weekend started on Friday, Oct. 24, with the fifth-annual Poker Run and, new this year, Bar Mix-off, showcasing Breckenridge bartenders’ creativity with a cocktail throw-down utilizing craft spirits as a base. For the Poker Run, contestants will depart on self-guided tours of saloons, restaurants and taverns in Breckenridge, drawing playing cards at each stop, and then present their best five-card hand the following day at the Poker Showdown at the Still on the Hill Grand Tasting.

Embrace the growing craft distilling trend this weekend with the fifth-annual Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival, Friday, Oct. 24, through Sunday, Oct. 26.

Founded during Colorado's gold rush in 1859, Breckenridge is no stranger to distilling. Stills kept miners' thirsts quenched during its first heyday, and now the town is home to the original Still on the Hill event. Activities for the festival include a poker run and bar mix-off at restaurants and bars throughout town, a historic saloon tour, shot glass art, a spirited cooking class, an open house at the Breckenridge Distillery, the Grand Tasting with distillers from around the country and a Hangover Brunch.

TOURS AND POKER

The Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival kicks off Friday, Oct. 24, with a pair of tours led by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance. Discover the ghost town and gold mine of Preston in the morning, weather dependent, or join the Historic Saloon Tour in the afternoon. The saloon walking tour highlights the historic brewing, distilling and saloon features of Breckenridge's mining heritage.

Indulge your creative side by designing your own personalized shot glass at the Ceramic Studio in the Breckenridge Arts District. Watch local artists throw shot glasses off a large hump of clay. During the demonstration, you are invited to personalize your own pre-made ceramic shot glass using colorful glazes. Each creation will be fired that night and ready for pick up on Saturday, Oct. 25, during open studio hours from 5 to 8 p.m.

The evening closes with the fifth-annual Poker Run and, new this year, Bar Mix-off, showcasing Breckenridge bartenders' creativity with a cocktail throwdown utilizing craft spirits as a base. For the Poker Run, contestants will depart on self-guided tours of saloons, restaurants and taverns in Breckenridge, drawing playing cards at each stop, and then present their best five-card hand the following day at the Poker Showdown at the Still on the Hill Grand Tasting.

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GRAND TASTING

The highlight of the weekend is the Grand Tasting on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Riverwalk Center, which will showcase the various products of 30 craft distillers. The public can meet the distillers, try the various spirits and vote for their favorite spirit. Many of the distillers make up cocktails featuring their spirits so that guests may experience how the products can be used.

Artisan snacks will also be served during the Grand Tasting, and the Honey Gitters will play background bluegrass music. Tickets include a tasting glass and entry to the Grand Tasting (must be 21 to enter; this is a no-pet event). The party moves to the Gold Pan Saloon at 9 p.m., where the Honey Gitters will play with their full band sound.

Wrap up the weekend with the Hangover Brunch on Sunday, Oct. 26, when various restaurants around town will be featuring craft-spirit cocktails and brunch menus.

Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival

Friday, Oct. 24

10 a.m. — Preston Ghost Town & Gold Mine Tour, $30 for adults, $10 for kids (lunch included); call (970) 453-9767, ext. 2, for reservations

5 p.m. — Historic Saloon Tour, Breckenridge Welcome Center, $15; call (970) 453-9767, ext. 2, for reservations

5 p.m. — Fifth Annual Poker Run & Bar Mix-off, drinks available for purchase at Apres Handcrafted Libations, Breckenridge Brewery, Briar Rose Chophouse, Burke & Riley’s, Downstairs at Eric’s, Empire Burger, Fatty’s Pizzeria, Gold Pan Saloon, Hearthstone, Jake’s, Mi Casa, Modis, Motherloaded, Ollie’s Pub, Salt Creek/Napper Tandy’s

6-8 p.m. — Shot Glass Art, Ceramic Studio, 125 S. Ridge St., Breckenridge Arts District, $5; call (970) 453-3364 or visit http://www.breckcreate.org

Saturday, Oct. 25

Noon to 2 p.m. — Spirited Cooking at CMC, Colorado Mountain College, 107 Denison Placer Road, $50 per person, must pre-register, limited seats

1-3 p.m. — Breckenridge Distillery Open House, 1925 Airport Road, take the Yellow route of the Breckenridge Free Ride bus system or take Summit Express from the Riverwalk Center, free

4-7 p.m. — Still on the Hill Grand Tasting, Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., $25 in advance or $30 the day of the event

9 p.m. — Gold Pan After-Party with music from the Honey Gitters, 103 N. Main St., free

Sunday, Oct. 26

Hangover Brunch, Breckenridge Brewery, Burke & Riley’s, Downstairs at Eric’s, Fatty’s, Gold Pan, Jake’s, La Francaise, Mi Casa, Modis, Motherloaded, Ollie’s Pub, Salt Creek Steakhouse

11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. — Breckenridge Historic Walking Tour, Breckenridge Welcome Center, $10

For more on the Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival, including registration information and tickets, visit http://www.breckenridgecraftspiritsfestival.com.