Beer festivals are a dime a dozen in Colorado, which is why organizers — especially the ones who have been doing it for years — are always looking for ways to make the experience better for both attendees and the brewers involved. The Colorado Brewers Festival in downtown Fort Collins, which will celebrate its 26th incarnation on June 27 and 28, has made dozens of changes over the past few years in order to keep up — from its location to the beer selections on tap to the glassware that beer is served in.
Last year, the fest offered attendees the option of buying sixteen-ounce glasses online beforehand so that they didn’t have to struggle with tiny tasting glasses, which often force people to wait in a lot of lines for refills.
The program was a success, so the fest planned to expand it this year and retire the tasting glasses altogether — but then the City of Fort Collins banned glass in Civic Center Park downtown, where the festival is held. Oops.
Enter Govino, a California company with a facility in Aurora that makes clear, artfully shaped, shatterproof polymer drinking vessels.
“This year, we needed a clear, non-glass vessel that properly showcased the brewer’s art and didn’t impart flavor or aroma,” explains COBF event director James Yearling. “The festival and the city are always focused on being environmentally responsible and sustainable as well, so it had to be recyclable, reusable and shatterproof.”
The “glasses” were designed in the late 1990s for wine-tasting events, where participants wanted something better than disposable plastic cups. The company added a beer option, shaped like a pilsner glass, in 2013.
This year’s COBF will feature about sixty beers from more than forty in-state breweries; organizers at the Downtown Fort Collins Business Association expect more than 18,000 attendees.
The fest runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Entry is free, but attendees must purchase at least one tasting package ($25 in advance or $30 at the door, which gets you ten tasting tickets good for food and beer) in order to drink. Additional taster tickets can be purchased for $1 each. Four tickets will get you a full glass of beer, one ticket a four-ounce sample pour.
The Colorado Brewers Festival was founded back in 1990, when brewers Doug Odell of Odell Brewing and Brad Page of CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing came up with the idea. At the time, there were only nine craft brewers in Colorado, three of them in Fort Collins.