Arts and Culture

Ignite Denver will offer lightning in a bottle during the Great American Beer Festival

It only took five minutes on stage for Nick Nunns to realize that he loved the idea of Ignite Denver. Actually, since his performance only lasted five minutes total, it took less than that. "It's a blast," says Nunns. "After I got over being nervous, I loved it." Ignite Denver 10, taking place September 28, will have an added benefit when it comes to calming the nerves: beer, and plenty of it. In fact, the entire night will be tied in to the Great American Beer Festival, in town September 29-October 1.

So what is Ignite? It consists of fifteen to twenty people who are allowed to present any topic of their choosing using twenty slides that automatically advance every fifteen seconds. The presenters are voted for online after each submits his or her idea, called a "spark." Past examples include: "Pittsburghese: A Dialectical Primer" and "Joys and Danger of Ten Hobbies You May Not Have Tried."

The concept for Ignite, which began in Seatle in 2006, is similar to Pecha Kucha, a Japanese phenomenon that allowed designers to quickly showcase their work.

Ignite Denver 10 is different from previous incarnations, however, because it is one of the only Ignites with a theme, says Nunns, an Ignite volunteer and writer for the local booze blog Denver Off the Wagon, which co-organized the fast-paced event.

It will also have a roster of well-known beer celebrities, something that is also different from previous Ignites, which don't usually have professional speakers. They include Greg Koch of Stone Brewing, celebrity blogger Ashley "The Beer Wench" Routson, Dave Thibodeau of Ska Brewing in Durango and Amanda Johnson from Odell, along with eight regular beer lovers, including Nunns (who will present on beer and heavy metal) and, uh, me, Westword's Beer Man. I'll be doing something called "Big Beers, Barleywines and Being Blitzed."

Ignite fires up at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, at the Sherman Events Center, 1770 Sherman Street; tickets are $5 or $10 for admission and two beer tickets. Beers are provided by Ska, Great Divide, Odell and Renegade Brewing, along with cider from Colorado Cider. For more information, and for tickets, go to

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes