Beer Man

Beer Fests Are Back! Here's What We Know So Far

Will Wibby Brewing's Hooplagers return?
Will Wibby Brewing's Hooplagers return? Wibby Brewing
The 2021 beer festival season unofficially kicked off last weekend with the Vail Craft Beer Classic, which just so happened to be the only festival that took place in 2020 (organizers were able to sufficiently distance attendees, who had to remain at their tables, where they were served beers in compostable, disposable cups). And it went well, despite the rain and hail in Vail's Ford Sculpture Park. Actually, scratch that. It went fantastically, as it was the first beer fest for many of the breweries that participated, as well as the attendees, in a year and half.

And although a few fests that had been hoped for in 2021— including the Great American Beer Festival and Collaboration Fest — have already been canceled or delayed due to lingering concerns about COVID-19, many more have been announced or are currently being planned or re-planned.

Are you ready to attend? Maybe and maybe not. It will be interesting to see which organizers change their formats or head counts in order to make participants feel more comfortable and whether or not there will be enough demand for fun that some organizers don't make any changes at all (long lines, shared pitchers).

Here are most of the beer festivals we know about so far:


click to enlarge Left Hand will be bringing back its Oktoberfest this fall. - LEFT HAND BREWING
Left Hand will be bringing back its Oktoberfest this fall.
Left Hand Brewing
Summer Brew Fest Saturday
Saturday, July 24
Mile High Station

The 2021 Summer Brew Fest will take place at Mile High Station as usual, with two different sessions spread out over the day. Breweries, music and more will be announced soon.

Winter Park Resort Beer Fest
Saturday July 24
Winter Park Resort

Celebrate summer with unlimited drink samples from over twenty Colorado craft breweries and distilleries, including several in the Fraser area, along with food and live bluegrass music.

Parker Brewfest
Saturday, August 14
O'Brien Memorial Park, Parker

The annual Parker Brewfest returns to O'Brien Memorial Park with around thirty breweries — most of them hailing from Denver's southern suburbs, but a few coming from other areas outside the city as well.

Belleview Station Beer Fest
Saturday, August 14
Belleview Station

Local events company Gumpop Presents has organized at least four different beer fests for the Denver area this summer and fall. The first is at Belleview Station in the DTC and includes unlimited samples from more than thirty breweries, along with food trucks, street-food vendors, a themed dance party and costume contest with a live DJ, lawn games, a photo booth, a DIY pretzel-necklace station, themed swag and more.


Bruz Beers hosts its Belgian Brew Fest in September. - BRUZ BEERS
Bruz Beers hosts its Belgian Brew Fest in September.
Bruz Beers
RiNo Beer Fest
Saturday, August 28
2424 Larimer Street

This fest from Gumpop includes unlimited samples from more than thirty breweries, along with food trucks, street-food vendors, a themed dance party and costume contest with a live DJ, lawn games, a photo booth, a DIY pretzel-necklace station, themed swag and more.

Belgian Brew Fest
September 4
Bruz Beers

It's time for the annual Belgian Brew Fest! This year's shenanigans will go down from 1 to 4 p.m. As always, this is an invite-only festival for breweries. Bruz Beers uses careful consideration when deciding who to invite, selecting those in the community that best represent true Belgian style beers among their variety of offerings. The brewery says it has a killer lineup of breweries this year: With four food trucks and two bands, you won't want to miss the first outside beer festival of the season. The festival has sold out every year, be sure to get your tickets soon — $40 early bird, $48 general admission.

Ska Brewing's 25th-26th Anniversary Party
Saturday, September 4
Durango

Like everyone else, Ska Brewing missed out on its anniversary in 2020 — which was particular sad since it was the Durango brewery's milestone 25th. So Ska is combining its 25th and 26th into a single blowout featuring beers from 25 breweries and live music from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Pietasters.

Craft Beer Conference-related events
September 9-12
Denver

Although the annual Craft Beer Conference, which was rescheduled from the spring in San Diego to the fall in Denver, is an industry-only convention and trade show, there are usually dozens of special events and tappings taking place around town, which could give the weekend a GABF-like feel.

click to enlarge Get your liters at the 2021 Denver Oktoberfest. - DENVER OKTOBERFEST
Get your liters at the 2021 Denver Oktoberfest.
Denver Oktoberfest
Denver Oktoberfest
September 17-19 and 24-26
Downtown Denver

Organizers of Denver's long-running Oktoberfest celebration downtown says the 51st Annual Denver Oktoberfest is officially returning. Details are coming soon.

Telluride Brews and Blues Festival
September 17–19
Telluride Town Park

This multi-stage celebration of music and craft beer offers an eclectic mix of live blues, funk, indie, rock, jam-band, gospel and soul performances accompanied by some of the best craft breweries in the country. The festival also features kids' activities, cozy late-night club shows, free morning yoga sessions, local and regional food and craft vendors and so much more.

Suave Fest
Saturday, September 18
Raíces Brewing

Suave Fest, which was billed as "the first Latino craft beer festival in the U.S." when it held its first iteration two years ago, returns after a year off due to the pandemic. Focused on Latino craft brewery owners and professionals, the festival will showcase at least a dozen breweries, including Coal Mine Avenue Brewing, Atrevida Brewing, Dos Luces Brewing, Jade Mountain Brewery, Wah Gwaan Brewing and Lady Justice Brewing. In addition to beer, there will be six hours of live Latino music, several food trucks, artisans, crafts, cool merchandise and "one of the best vibes the state has to offer," Raíces says.

click to enlarge Suave Fest focuses on Latino-owned breweries. - SARAH COWELL
Suave Fest focuses on Latino-owned breweries.
Sarah Cowell
Park Hill Beer Fest
Saturday, September 18
Oneida Park

This fest from Gumpop includes unlimited samples from more than thirty breweries, along with food trucks, street-food vendors, a themed dance party and costume contest with a live DJ, lawn games, a photo booth, a DIY pretzel-necklace station, themed swag and more.

Longmont Octoberfest
Saturday, September 25
Roosevelt Park, Longmont

This annual event, hosted by Left Hand Brewing in Roosevelt Park in Longmont, will just be one day this year, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Typically family-friendly and chock-full of all the usual Oktoberfest music, food, beer and fun, it has also included other Longmont breweries in the past. Details are still TBA.

click to enlarge Salida is a lovely place for a beer fest. - COLORADO BREWERS GUILD
Salida is a lovely place for a beer fest.
Colorado Brewers Guild
Brewers Rendezvous
Saturday, October 2
Salida

The 25th Annual Brewers Rendezvous will indeed take place in 2021, although the date has been pushed back from summer to fall. This annual fundraiser for the Colorado Brewers Guild will take place, as always, in Salida's Riverside Park, but the number of attendees will be capped at a smaller amount.

Sloan’s Lake Beer Fest
Saturday, October 2
16th Avenue and Raleigh Street

This fest from Gumpop includes unlimited samples from more than thirty breweries, along with food trucks, street-food vendors, a themed dance party and costume contest with a live DJ, lawn games, a photo booth, a DIY pretzel-necklace station, themed swag and more.

WeldWerks Invitational
Saturday, October 30
Greeley

The WeldWerks Invitational brings in 45 of the country’s best breweries pouring some of their rarest and most sought-after beers in an intimate and relaxed setting. Expect to see classic breweries like Horus Aged Ales and Jester King, who’ve been with the Invitational since year one, fan favorites like Side Project Brewing, and newcomers like HOMES Brewery, Ology Brewing and Equilibrium Brewery, just to name a few. Tickets for people who had already purchased them for last year's canceled Invitational go on sale July 1. The remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public on July 7.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes