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Denver beer culture will meet the city's history with Festivus, an all-Denver beer fest

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Old, new and local -- really local. That's the only way to describe Denver Beer Festivus, a new craft-beer festival set for December 15 that will feature Denver breweries only, something that makes sense now that there are more than twenty of them -- eight having opened in the past year alone.

That newness, however, will be well balanced by the fact that Festivus will go down inside the historic McNichols Building, which sat vacant for years until the city decided in 2011 to spent $1.8 million on renovations. Built in 1910 as the Carnegie Library, the Greek Revival-style building anchors the northwest corner of Civic Center Park.

See also: - Two new Denver breweries, Black Shirt and Our Mutual Friend, will open just for GABF - The McNichols Building opens October 24 with Light! - Denver Off The Wagon blog marks its first birthday with a beer and a three-day fest

"It's beautiful in there. It's gorgeous," says Festivus co-organizer PJ Hoberman, who founded the Denver Off The Wagon drinking blog in 2011. "And it's perfect for us because we are doing something that is Denver-only and it works perfectly to work with the city on that and do it in an historic building, right in Civic Center Park."

He promises not to trash the place.

Hoberman and Casey Berry, of the Imbibe Denver events and deals site, have asked the breweries, most of which will have staff on hand, to bring one of their core beers along with something exciting, rare or different. They've also offered to pay for the beer, rather than asking for donations, since some of the breweries are very small, and "it's hard to give two or three kegs without paying," Hoberman says.

The city plans to use the 23,012-square-foot building primarily for free art and cultural exhibits, including several during Denver Arts Week," says Denver Arts + Venues spokeswoman Kristin Rust. (Denver Arts Week will run November 2-10.) "It's going to be a hub for those kinds of things. We want Denver residents to be able to see art for free."

But the city will also rent out the fuilding out for weddings, performances and other private events, Rust adds. It costs $3,500 for the whole building; nonprofits get a reduced rate.

Festivus will start around 6 p.m. (the exact time and other details are still being worked out); tickets are $30 (through October 31) and available at imbibedenver.com. There may be food trucks and vendors on hand, too; some of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

So far, the participating breweries are Black Shirt, Breckenridge, Bull & Bush, Caution, Chophouse, Copper Kettle, Crooked Stave, Del Norte, Denver Beer Co, Great Divide, Hog's Head, Our Mutual Friend, Prost, Renegade, Strange, River North, TRVE, Wit's End and Wynkoop Brewing Co. Colorado Cider will also be in the house.

Pints Pub declined the invitation to attend, and Hoberman says he's is still working on getting the Sandlot, Rock Bottom and Vine Street Pub involved.


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