More brewers help beer fest, scholarship fund
Hundreds of beer enthusiasts gathered Saturday afternoon at the Colorado Mesa University Center to partake in beers, ciders and a little wine at the third-annual Grand Valley Beer Festival.
The festival grew from 20 breweries and distributors last year to 54 this year. Brewers from the Western Slope, the West Coast and other parts of the country gathered at tented booths inside the University Center’s ballroom and amidst the rain on the center’s second-story terrace to pour at least two of their brews each for tasting. Libations from across the globe were available as well.
Eric Ross, co-owner and manager of Kannah Creek Brewing Co., said the event has expanded greatly from the first two years Kannah Creek participated in the festival. Ross said this time of year is beer festival season and he’s seeing more Colorado brewers and more festival attendees at various events each year. He wasn’t sure how Saturday’s weather or having the event the same day as Colorado Mesa’s graduation ceremony would impact attendance but was happy to see a crowd.
“I think they gambled a bit on doing it graduation weekend but any time you’ve got people, beer and music, it’s going to be a good time,” Ross said.
With advanced ticket sales of $20 and at-the-door tickets for $25 apiece, Maverick Club Executive Director Rick Adleman estimated this year’s event will raise $7,000 to $10,000 for scholarships for student athletes and money for their programs. He said event-planners ordered 600 custom glasses for the event and they were all gone by the end of the first hour of the four-hour festival.
Behind the scenes, a cluster of members from the High Desert Brewers home-brewers association judged various beers offered at the event. Judge Mathew Dokoupil said most judges blind-tasted a total of about 30 beers in groups of six and judged them by category on taste, color and texture. One winner from each category will receive a gold medal.