This year marks the tenth anniversary of Vail's Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival, and the organizers have something special planned. "Twenty-one breweries from around the world have created beers or are releasing new beers at our event," explains organizer Laura Lodge. "Most are created specifically for our festival and will be available only at the event. Oregons Deschutes Brewery, for example, is releasing a special blend of their Mirror, Mirror Barleywine. There are only two barrels of that ever made, so to have one of them at our festival is quite an honor. "We have some of the American craft brewers who have been pushing the bounds and directions of the beer industry as it evolves, she adds, plus international makers of the traditional beers being brewed for hundreds of years in Europe, right alongside each other to taste and try.
The festival kicked off yesterday at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, 1300 Westhaven Drive in Vail, but the Tenth Anniversary Welcome Reception will take place today at noon. There will also be seminars, competitions, tastings and more; the brewmasters dinners are sold out, but several of the special brews will be available at the Vail Cascade's restaurant, where the chef has paired the drinks with special plates.
The festival runs through tomorrow in Vail; visit www.bigbeersfestival.com for a full schedule of events.
Jan. 7-9, 2010