Beer Man

GABF: Boulder County Brews Cruise, Denver Rare Beer Tasting tix selling fast

Tickets for the Great American Beer Festival, at the Colorado Convention Center September 16-18, are selling fast, but so are passes to two of most popular events that take place in conjunction with the fest.

Tickets for the Boulder County Brews Cruise -- which is sponsored by Draft magazine -- went on sale today on Left Hand Brewing's website.

The cruise - which uses two 56-passenger buses -- is nicknamed the Five Finger Discount Tour since it's in its fifth year. Bus #1 visits Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Avery Brewing and Boulder Beer. Bus #2 will take on Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Boulder Beer, Asher and Upslope.

For $60, riders get free samples at each stop, a light breakfast, lunch, a "Five-Finger" T-shirt and a half-price subscription to Draft. The Brews Cruise buses leave from the Colorado Convention Center at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on September 15, the day before GABF begins; the trip takes all day - not like that's a bad thing.

"We do sell out -- I expect about mid-August," says Left Hand spokeswoman Aly Dratch, adding that the cruisers are typically a fifty-fifty mix of locals and out-of-state GABFers.

While Left Hand has considered running more frequent tours during the year, the brewery likes the idea of connecting to the festival. "That helps it sell out," she says. "And doing it more often would make the cult status of it less so."

In the meantime, the 2nd annual Rare Beer Tasting takes place on September 17, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Wynkoop Brewing Company. Hosted by All About Beer Magazine as a fundraiser for Pints for Prostates, the $80 event is nearly sold out.

More than twenty brewers will present some of their most rare, limited edition and hard to find brews. This year's breweries and beers will be announced in August, but the 2009 version include delicacies like Alaskan Smoked Porter 1999, Brooklyn Wild 1, Dogfish Head Raison D'Extra 2006, Stone 2008 Old Guardian Barley Wine Aged in Red Wine Barrels, and the Wynkoop's Barrel Aged Berserker Mead.

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