Big Beers 2019 Brought out the Best of Colorado Breweries

Big Beers, Belgians and Barley Wines (generally called just Big Beers) once again took to the snowy peaks of Breckenridge for a celebratory weekend of the craft beer industry. Paired with instructional seminars, decadent beer dinners and cigar tastings, case is capped off using a industrial tasting event. With an impressive line-up of local and national breweries, the event has acquired a reputation in the industry among the best beer festivals in Colorado and is becoming the place where local breweries flex the hardest. It doesn’t harm when your hangover treatment is still a powder day.

READ: Colorado’s Best Beer Festival Is Just One You’re Probably Missing

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Fresh tracks aside, the beer flowed nonstop last Saturday using lots of cups overrunning using high-ABV beers — because the name of this occasion would indicate. There were lots of anticipated favorites like the Weldwerks Medianoche line-up — which constantly garners fanfare for its rich variants of this barrel-aged imperial stouts. However, for this particular mounted, the traditional Medianoche shone the smartest whereas its spinoffs like the peanut butter variation lacked a comparable clarity in tastes. But Weldwerks’ local celebrity, one exception to this Colorado love-fest was the always long line in Side Project. That can be in part because it’s possible to ’t taste the beers out of its Missouri taproom. Nevertheless, their showing was strong with a mixture of barleywines, barrel aged stouts and wild ales. A personal favorite included the Punchdown Pinot Noir created with pinot noir grapes and aged in wine barrels — among the vast selection of stouts, it was a welcomed death. Similarly, Great Divide’s Wood Werks series proved to be a pleasant find. The No. 2 variant of this series proved to be a Flemish-style sour brown ale with strawberries. Old in red wine, whiskey and bourbon barrels, the beer had a more welcomed layer of complexity that somehow wasn’t overly fussy.

Eventually, another regional favorite, Amalgam Brewing, capped off the decadent afternoon using a wonderfully diverse line-up. Alongside its balaton reduction and cherry gold sour, was one of the best showings of a stout. Aged in bourbon barrels on vanilla beans, toasted coconut and cocoa nibs, “All Becomes Void” was poured straight from the barrel. The result was all the traditional notes with a barrel-aged stout using a fresh finish, which was a welcomed reprieve after a couple of big beers.

Dates have already been declared for 2020. So mark your calendars for January 9 – 11 and don’t miss out on a few of the best-kept secrets of this Colorado beer industry.

All photography by Brittany Werges.

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