What to eat, drink at the Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival

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The 16th annual Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival is back in full swing Saturday, July 9. Multiple breweries from Summit County, the state and beyond are scheduled to pour beers from noon to 5 p.m.
Radiate Live Events/Courtesy photo

As long as the afternoon thunderstorms hold off, warm summer days are usually a great time for sampling suds among friends and craft beer fans. Good thing the 16th annual Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival is happening Saturday, July 9.

Multiple breweries from Summit County, the state and beyond are scheduled to pour beers from noon to 5 p.m. at Beaver Run Resort’s Copper Top Plaza, 620 Village Road. This will be the first time the event is in July since the coronavirus pandemic. Sales were restricted last year, and the date was pushed to August. There was no festival in 2020.

“It’s one of our signature events of the summer,” said Krista Benedetti, co-owner of festival organizer Radiate Live Events. “We produce a lot of other festivals, but this is our original summer festival. It’s grown from a tiny event to usually over 2,500 people.”

The festival technically kicks off from 5-8 p.m. Friday, July 8, at Quandary Tequila Bistro in Main Street Station, 505 S. Main St., Breckenridge. People can pick up their tasting mugs and check out the new menu of what was formerly the Quandary Grille.

Also on Friday, Spencer’s Restaurant inside Beaver Run will be serving a beer pairing dinner from 5-9 p.m. highlighting Breckenridge Brewery. The calamari salad is paired with the summer Pilsners, the Korean barbecue duck goes with an India pale ale, gazpacho is partnered with the Mountain Beach sour, beer-braised beef short rib is washed down with a glass of Avalanche amber and the cinnamon barrel-aged ice cream float uses the vanilla porter.

That’s all a preamble to Saturday’s main event. There are too many breweries to list, but there are some standouts worth mentioning. I’ve enjoyed Oregon’s Ecliptic Brewing at other festivals, and for this they’ll have the fruity Phaser Hazy IPA and crisp Pyxis Pilsner to appeal to a wide array of tastes.

Also from out of state, Marble Brewery from Albuquerque is bringing a refreshing Pink Lemonade Lager that’s crushable at 4.2% alcohol by volume. On the stronger side is the award-winning Double White, a Belgian-inspired wheat ale that’s 7% ABV.

For Colorado options, Great Divide Brewing Co. will be pouring their signature Yeti Imperial Stout but with a peanut butter twist and the Strawberry Rhubarb sour. The stout is savory and 9.5% ABV, while the sour is sweet and tart at 6.2% ABV. Locally, Steep Brewing & Coffee Co. will serve up Lulo Blonde Ale, which is brewed with the titular fruit puree from Columbia that has a tropical, summery aroma.

Meanwhile, an aroma of mango, citrus and pine can be found in the brewery’s West Side of the Tunnel IPA. Lightly sweet and bitter, it is strong at 7.6% ABV.

Not a beer fan? There are spirits, wine and craft cocktails from places like Idlewild Distillery, Breckenridge Distillery and Carboy Winery. One unique offering is The Finnish Long Drink, a canned version of the country’s popular cocktail.

“It’s like a gin canned cocktail,” Benedetti said. “It’s been super popular and has a citrus flavor that’s light and refreshing.”

To go with the drinks are food trucks and vendors selling snacks like kettle corn, jerky, donuts, snow cones, roasted nuts and more. Available for entertainment are yard games like cornhole, giant chess and Jenga. People can pass the time listening to live music, too. 

This year is focused on the country genre with multiple acts from Nashville. Hailey Steele, an alum of NBC’s “The Voice,” will perform at noon. The Wild Cards, composed of vocalist Ashley Gearing and fiddler Andrea Young, take the stage at 1:45 p.m.

Lastly, Grammy-award winning songwriter Kendell Marvel will play at 3:30 p.m. Marvel has written for artists like George Strait, Gary Allan and Chris Stapleton.

Though the festival ends at 5 p.m., the official after-party will be at Brooklyn’s Tavern and Billiards located at 500 S. Main St. in the La Cima Mall immediately following.

The VIP experience is sold out, but tickets for unlimited beer tasting are available at $40, increasing to $45 the day of the event. General admission for people older than 12 or designated drivers is $15 in advance or $20 the day of. Proceeds will benefit SOS Outreach.

Visit to purchase.

Marble Brewery’s Pink Lemonade Lager is one of the many refreshing options pouring at the 16th annual Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival. The brewery is also pouring the Cerveza Mexican lager, Desert Fog India pale ale and Double White wheat.
Marble Brewery/Courtesy photo

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

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