by Ali Owens

We live in a land of festivals, everyone!

I’m serious – Colorado is rife with them.  There is a festival for everything.  There are festivals for food, for dance, for rodeo, for bicycling, for wildflowers, for freaking hot air balloons.  And those are just the ones I know about – I don’t dare consult Google.  Clearly, we are living in a very festival-happy part of the nation.

So, considering the broad array before us, and considering the regrettable fact that summer does not last forever, which festivals are we supposed to pick?  What is a sensible Coloradan to do?

Go to the 27th Annual Colorado Brewers Festival, of course.

Seriously.  Go. 

COBF won a Governor’s Award for Excellence in 2015, and has been lauded as “an iconic beer festival” by the Colorado Brewers Guild.  Doug Odell, Founder of Odell Brewing, even credits COBF with helping to build the local brewery culture and making Colorado one of the nation’s best states for craft beer.  Lofty claims, from people who know their stuff.

Still not convinced?  Here’s some great news: entry into the festival, including access to the 11-hour lineup of live music, is entirely free!  That’s right – come in, listen to great local bands, relax in the shade in Washington Park, people-watch – all for exactly zero dollars.

Of course, if you’d like to sample from the array of 70-plus fine microbrews from over 35 Colorado breweries, you’ll need to purchase a tasting package, which includes ten, four-ounce drink tickets as well as a commemorative glass.  And this year, the Downtown Business Association is trying something new.  For the first time ever, in an effort to eliminate long lines and wait times at the box office, tasting packages will be pre-sold at selected breweries around town for a discounted price!  Packages are also available for purchase online – and at the box office the day of the festival, if you’re one of those weirdos who absolutely loves standing in line while all your friends drink beer without you.  To each their own, right?

Additionally, this event gives back to the community, which, if you ask me, is reason enough to show up.  Unbeknownst to many of us, the Downtown Business Association is a nonprofit organization, not a branch of the City Fort Collins, a typical misconception,  which means it has no allocated financing from the City and therefore depends entirely on funds from events such as this.  In fact, the whole festival is masterminded by just a handful of dedicated, talented and ridiculously hardworking people. The revenue from COBF and New West Fest goes right back into other, smaller events throughout the year, such as the Old Town Car Show and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade – which means that by simply showing up and sampling a few beers, you are actually helping maintain the fantastic standard of living in our community!

See you there, friends.  I’ll be the excessively happy person with a full glass of delicious beer.  (Or is that all of us?)

Saturday June 25th, 12pm-6pm

Sunday June 26th, 12pm-5pm

Washington Park, Old Town Fort Collins

Tasting Packages:

$25 at selected breweries

$30 online

$35 at box office, day of

Participating breweries where packages are available for purchase:

1933 Brewing, Black Bottle Brewery, CooperSmith’s, Fort Collins Brewery, Horse & Dragon, Snowbank Brewing, Rally King Brewing, Zwei Brewing, and Pateros Creek Brewing