One of the best things about Colorado summer are beer festivals. Yes, this includes the much anticipated, sold-out Great American Beer Fest happening in October. But staying true to Colorado tradition, many of us have dived into several neighborhood beer fests much like the Summer Brew Fest.
Developed by the creative minds of RightOn Productions (and an aftermath of the Bonnaroo festival), this small but mighty beer fest has been catching Denverites attention since 2004 and, as always, benefits Swallow Hill Music. As a veteran to the Summer Brew Fest, RightOn Productions always manages to provide a good time. Each year, tickets sell out earlier than the previous year and every year you find eager late-learners scouring the web for a chance to join the fun.
The music selection has always been a thumbs up with Euforquestra being this year’s entertainment, and their ticket price and crowd count is always consistent, so it’s never too overwhelming. The one thing that is quizzical is the limited choice of food provided at the beer fest. It may be a budget or space issue. Either way, a few more food choices would ease the beer-filled stomach.
On July 27, beer enthusiasts formed a decent line at the Mile High Station at 6 p.m. Only limited VIP ticket holders had the benefit of sampling beer by Great Divide and cheese by MouCo, which began at 6 p.m. But by 7 p.m. sharp, doors swung wide open and beer sampling was fair game. Everyone received a restaurant-grade mini beer glass as a souvenir with “Summer Brew Fest 2012″ imprinted on it – and it’s one glass per participant, so it was best not to drop it.
Standing two stories tall, the Mile High Station was formerly known to be a Midwest Steel and Ironworks building. Based on the significance, the building is considered a historic building. The structure has been carefully renovated to preserve the original architectural features, including the old-brick exterior walls, ”I-Beam” steel structure and some of the original operational equipment. Today, it has become a venue hosting versatile events such as weddings, graduation parties and one of our favorite beer festivals.
Housing 45+ craft brewers and 125+ brews, beer stations were placed evenly on the first and second floors, as well as the patio out back. Each sample was roughly three ounces, which can quickly turn to five or six pints if one did not pace themselves. However, because each station had a line that required a three-to-five minute wait, it may not have been a problem. On the other hand, with three hours at hand and 125+ brews to try, waiting was not ideal. Although, a few noted brews were worth the wait (and worth lining up twice!) such as the Norse Legend Sahti and the Veloren Gose which surprisingly was not created by a local brewery but by Sam Adams.
Sahti and Gose (Go-Say) are a few of the oldest brews in the history of mankind. Sahti is a farmhouse ale filtered with juniper with roots in Finland, and Gose is a style of unfiltered wheat beer accented with salt and coriander that originated in Germany. Sadly, there was a limited supply of the two ancient beers which only lasted for the first hour of the festival. But this means we can add that to our list of beers to try. If you want to stay local, try New Belgium’s Sahti under their Lips of Faith line and Golden City Brewery’s Goldener Gose on tap.
All in all, Summer Brew Fest was a good time. Although it has passed, the good news is RightOn Productions puts on the Winter Brew Fest, also happening at the Mile High Station, in January. Keep a look out!
Mile High Station
2027 West Lower Colfax Avenue
Denver, Colorado 80204