Odell Brewing kicked of the summer beer festival season on Saturday with its popular Small Batch Fest in Fort Collins. And although it's only May, the heat and the turnout made it feel as if Colorado is already in prime mid-season beer-fest form. The event drew close to 6,000 people, many hundreds of whom rode their bikes to the brewery in order to try about a dozen beers that Odell has made over the past few months on its five-barrel pilot system. Most of these beers aren't found outside Odell's taproom.
Some highlights were Pomegranate Pale Ale in the case, a deliciously refreshing beer that ran out quickly; Mash of the Titans, an 8.3 percent ABV chocolate coffee stout, which was a little difficult to drink in the sunshine, but nevertheless outstanding (Odell, please bottle this one); and Totes McGotes, a wheat beer made with reisling grape must.
Despite the huge crowd, however, parking seemed to be sufficient, and the bands -- including Musketeer Gripweed -- were rockin'.
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The only downside on Saturday were the lines for beer, which stretched to sixty-people long in places and took ten to twenty minutes to get through, creating a sea of sweltering people facing every which way.
It sounds like Odell plans to work on that, however: On Saturday evening, brewery owner Doug Odell tweeted this message: "Hi Beer Lovers, Thanks for coming out today for our Small Batch Fest. Sorry about the long lines for beer. We will fix that next year."