Find out what’s on tap this weekend at Keystone’s annual Bluegrass and Beer Festival | SummitDaily.com

Find out what’s on tap this weekend at Keystone’s annual Bluegrass and Beer Festival

Since 1996, the Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival has been a staple of summer time fun in Colorado. Since its inception, Bluegrass and Beer Festival has been shaping how other beer festivals are organized and run.

"We helped shape the beer festival model, really before beer festivals were even a thing," said Maja Russer, director of events and marketing for the Keystone Neighborhood Company.

The Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival always falls on the first full weekend of August each year. Russer says it's their biggest festival of the summer year after year.

"Our success stems from the fact that people have a good time at this festival. It's well run, well organized and all the breweries have a good time. It's a great festival for them to attend,' Russer said.

There will be roughly 130 brews flowing this weekend in Keystone's River Run Plaza. Get your beer right from the source, with numerous Summit County and Colorado beers on tap from New Belgium Brewing, Eddyline Brewing, Oskar Blues, Telluride Brewing Company, Upslope, Ratio Beerworks and Wynkoop, Pug Ryan's, Dillon Dam, Outer Range, Breckenridge Brewery, The Baker's Brewery and much more. Let's not forget, though, the second half to this marvelous festival: Bluegrass, and plenty of it.

There will be 13 bands coming to Keystone on three stages. All performances are free. The festival includes some of the best bluegrass bands on the road right now, including Missed the Boat, Masontown, The Savage Hearts, The Lonesome Days, The Wooks, The Railsplitters, Peter Rowan Band, Strung High String Band, Burn it Blue, The River Arkansas, Liver Down the River, Wood & Wire and Brothers Comatose. This year New Belgium Brewing is providing an amazing playground for kids and adults alike, featuring a swing set bar, oversized lawn games and cold, frosty brews (for the adults).

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Friday, August 4 at 7:30 p.m. there is a kickoff event at Warren Station (164 Ida Belle Drive), featuring local four-piece bluegrass band Shaky Hand String Band. The event, "Eat, Drink, Pick" is a beer maker's pairing with New Belgium Brewing.

Food and Beverage Director at Arapahoe Basin, Chef Chris Rybak, will present tasting dishes to compliment New Belgium flavors. There will be six small plate stations for foodies to get their fix while sampling the delicious beers. Attendees can expect to sample the Voodoo Ranger IPA, 1554 Black Lager, Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Tartastic Lemon Ginger Sour Ale, the classic Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale and a new beer from New Belgium called the Fat Tire Belgian White. The belgian white is new to New Belgium's line of beers and is set to roll out nationwide this month.

"Next week is the national launch," said Ainsley Gusaas, the Colorado mountain area manager for New Belgium. "We are excited to release this extension of the fat tire line at the festival this weekend."

At Friday's Eat, Drink and Pick attendees will have an opportunity to sample the new fat tire before the rest of the festival goers on Saturday and Sunday. All weekend the Fat Tire White Belgian can be found in New Belgium's tent — even those without festival tickets can purchase pours here.

Gusaas will be speaking at Friday's Eat, Drink and Pick about the history of New Belgium and will be sharing basic information about their beers. Can't make it to Friday's beer pairing? Gusaas of New Belgium will also be speaking at a noon seminar, "Greater Lengths" on Saturday. Catch the free discussion at Keystone's Warren Station. For an hour she will discuss the history of the brewery, their line of beers and much more.

Chef Rybak has worked his creative magic to create dishes that compliment each of the New Belgium beers. This year's Eat, Drink and Pick's menu includes a charcuterie platter, a rice noodle and shrimp salad, braised goat tacos with cotija cheese, tandoori-style chicken tikka, beer-braised pork belly and a carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

"There are a couple of ways to look at it [pairings]. Sometimes it's a total contrast. Other times a compliment. It depends on what I am going for," said Chef Rybak.

Throughout the menu, Chef Rybak will do both complimenting and contrasting with his dishes.

"Something more fatty or creamy, you want a beer to cut that. You want something with more acidity.

Chef Rybak will share more about the menu design, flavor profiles and education on the brewery and the showcased beers at Friday night's beer pairing.

Even if you can't make it to the kickoff on Friday, there will be plenty of opportunities to eat, drink and pick all weekend long with the beer garden opening at 1 p.m. each day and the food vendors serving dishes starting at noon. Music both days begins at 11:30 a.m. For more information about Colorado's longest running craft beer event, visit KeystoneFestivals.com.

IF You Go:

What: 21st Annual Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival

When: Saturday, August 5 & Sunday, August 6

Where: River Run Village, Keystone Resort

Tickets: Weekend Beer Glass Pass, $75; Saturday Only Beer Glass Pass, $40; Sunday Only Beer Gladd Pass, $40; “Eat, Drink, Pick” Beer Maker’s Pairing with New Belgium Brewing and Chef Chris Rybak, $55

By the numbers: two days, 45 breweries, 130-140 varieties of beer, over a dozen bands on three stages

SAturday’s Schedule:

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Concert: Missed the Boat

12-5 p.m., New Belgium beer garden

12-5 p.m., Festival food booths open

12-5 p.m., Concert: Masontown

12:30 p.m., Concert: The Savage Hearts

1-2:30 p.m., Concert: The Lonesome Days

1-5 p.m., Fat Tire hangout with New Belgium Brewing (swing set bar, lawn games, etc.)

1:30-3 p.m., Concert: The Wooks

3-4:30 p.m., Concert: The Railsplitters

4-5:30 p.m., Concert: Peter Rowan Band

sUNDAY’S Schedule:

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Concert: Strung High String Band

12-5 p.m., New Belgium beer garden

12-5 p.m., Festival food booths open

12-5 p.m., Kidtopia Kidszone open

12-1 p.m., Concert: Burn it Blue

12:30-2:30 p.m., Concert: The Savage Hearts

1-2:30 p.m., Concert: The River Arkansas

1-5 p.m., Fat Tire hangout with New Belgium Brewing (swing set bar, lawn games, etc.)

1:30-3 p.m., Concert: Liver Down the River

3-4:30 p.m., Concert: The Savage Hearts

3-4:40 p.m., Concert: Wood & Wire

4-5:30 p.m., Concert: Brothers Comatose