Denver Beer Fest: Brews with the mayor and beer with funnel cake kick off the festivities

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Good morning! Have you had your first beer yet?

Denver kicks off its second annual Denver Beer Fest today, a ten day fiesta celebrating all things hopped. While the heart of the party - the Great American Beer Festival - doesn't take place until next week, there are plenty of things for the malt-minded to do today.

And Mayor Hickenlooper knows what he wants to do.

Last year, Hick kicked off Denver Beer Week by drinking a Paulaner, in honor of the city's fortieth incarnation of Oktoberfest, which also takes place over two weekends this month. This year, gubernatorial candidate Hick will drink a Colorado craft beer (hello, constituents) at Brew at the Zoo this afternoon.

And not just any Colorado craft beer. The mayor will have a Silver Back Pale Ale from the Wynkoop Brewing Company, which he co-founded. A portion of the proceeds from sales of that beer go to the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund, which is appropriate since the mayor will be at the Zoo.

Brew at the Zoo (find the details here) is just one of several awesome ways to kick the Fest.

There's also the family-friendly Beer Gardens @ Elitch Gardens," which will feature beer from Odell Brewing paired with - you guessed it -- funnel cake and other amusement park specialties. There will also be food, music and games. The $29.99 admission ticket includes entrance to the park, access to the event, souvenir cup and one beer pour.

Or, more something a little more mellow, check out a brewery you've never tried before by heading to City, O' City, 206 East 13th Avenue, which is hosting Jeff Crabtree, owner of the Crabtree Brewing Company in Greeley starting at 4 p.m. They'll have plenty of beer, and City is also selling $20 Beer Fest goody bags that include a 12-ounce 'City, O' City Denver Beer Fest' commemorative pilsner glass, a City, O' City Denver Beer Week t-shirt and a punch card for two free beers a day for the entire ten days of Denver Beer Week.

For dozens of other Denver Beer Fest activities today, see the website here.

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