Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Keystone’s Bluegrass and Beer Festival with these breweries, bands | SummitDaily.com

Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Keystone’s Bluegrass and Beer Festival with these breweries, bands

Summit Suds: Beer news, reviews, recipes and more

Keystone’s Bluegrass and Beer Festival returns Saturday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 7, to bring music and brews to River Run Village. Saturday’s unlimited beer tasting tickets are sold out, but purchases can still be made a la carte.
Keystone Neighbourhood Co./Courtesy photo

I had a blast at Keystone’s Bluegrass and Beer Festival in 2021, and I’m glad to report that the 25th-anniversary version this weekend will be even bigger than before. The festival runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 7, in River Run Village to bring live music, tasty brews and delectable dishes to all. 

It’s a great way to belatedly celebrate Friday’s, Aug. 5, International Beer Day, as roughly 30 breweries from around the country will be pouring unlimited samples of beer. Newcomers like Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Co. and Seattle’s Elysian Brewing will be joining in on the fun alongside returners like Joyride Brewing Co. from Edgewater.

Some interesting beers on the menu are Los Dos Potrillos Cerveceria’s Man Pear Pig — a Mandarin orange and pear sour — and a strawberry cucumber cream ale called Crazy Cucumbers. If someone wants an alternative to beer, Talbott’s Cider Co. will have Summer Sunset, a semi-sweet cider made with Palisade peaches grown on its farm, and Hot Girl Summer, the same peach cider aged on fresh habaneros.

A new component to the layout of the festival is that all Summit County breweries will be grouped together in the center plaza. Steep Brewing & Coffee Co. will once again be bringing their Pau Hana Coconut Coffee Porter. I had it last year for the first time at the festival, and it was one of the best coconut beers I’ve drank because of its rich, roasted coconut flavor.

Breckenridge Brewery & Pub will have five options available, two of which are Peerless Summer India pale ale and the Big E Smalz hazy IPA. The first is described as crisp and clean at 5.5% alcohol by volume, while the second is 5.8% and is made with oats and wheat. Either would be fitting to honor National IPA Day, which fell on Thursday, Aug. 4. Or, one could go in a more unusual direction with The Bakers’ Brewery Tropical Dance Tripel, which has the pineapple and mango flavor from Zamba hops but the bubbly body of a Belgium tripel.

As for the other half of the festival — the bluegrass — there will be bigger names like The Kitchen Dwellers, White Water Ramble and Oakhurst, in addition to new bands such as Chatham Rabbits spread throughout multiple stages.

Saturday’s lineup includes the Still House String Band, Sugar Moon, Clare Elich Duo, Red Mountain Boys, Chatham Rabbits, Head for the Hills and headliner Oakhurst. Meanwhile, Sunday will start with the Foggy Memory Boys and continue with Stray Grass, Jake Leg, Stillhouse Junkies, Olde Fashioned String Band and Whitewater Ramble before closing with The Kitchen Dwellers.

You can pair all of the festivities with delicious food from Keystone restaurants. For example, Keystone Stables will be serving brisket mac and cheese, and Lime will have different varieties of tacos like a honey-smoked salmon taco that should be delicious. Silverthorne’s The Argentos Empanadas & More — which is scheduled to open a location in River Run later this year — will have their portable morsels, and Mountain Dweller Coffee Roasters will be bringing a nitro cold brew root beer float.

Making a comeback this year is kid’s programming such as crafts from the Frosted Flamingo, face painting, a scavenger hunt and the Cave of Confusion maze.

“Anyone who has a kid knows that the free face painting is a huge hit,” Maja Russer, director of events and marketing for the Keystone Neighbourhood Co., said. “… We try to make sure there are a couple of beer sampling tents close by so parents can enjoy themselves, as well.”

Also for the adults, Kona Brewing Co. and Toyota will have activations available, like an engraved beer pint, and vendors will be selling various goods for people looking for a unique gift.

A one-day beer tasting pass that includes a festival glass is $45 in advance. A one-day food pass is $50 and is redeemable for one item from 10 different food vendors.

This is the second summer that the Keystone Neighbourhood Co. has limited the number of attendees due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though the cap was raised in 2022, Saturday’s beer tasting tickets are sold out, leaving only the food pass.

However, the festival is free to attend, and no matter the dish, all food costs $5 a la carte. There is also a beer garden beer with 10 different varieties of beer to purchase individually, meaning guests are welcome to buy a single beverage and plate of food on either day if that’s all they want. People can visit KeystoneFestivals.com to purchase sample tickets in advance, or opt for the piecemeal route.

Jefferson Geiger is the arts and entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News and managing editor for Explore Summit. Have a question about beer? Send him an email at jgeiger@summitdaily.com.

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