Malty, Hoppy-Scented Memories… of the Fests That Were

It seems like just yesterday we just updated our blog with a flurry of posts, only to fall behind once again.  It’s really not our fault.  It’s summertime, and while the livin’ is easy, the blogging is sort of a pain in the ass.  When the weather is warm and the drinks are cold, it’s easy to lose focus.   It’s difficult to sit in front of the computer when the sunshine and warm breezes are calling us to come out the patio and have a cocktail.  We’re weak, and we admit it.  We’re only human after all.  Regardless, we’ve missed these little chats.  How are you?  How’s the family?  Had any tasty new brews lately?   That’s great!   Let us tell you about some of the fun we were off having when we were too busy to write.   Specifically, let’s start with a few festivals we attended in late July and early August:  The Denver Summer Brew Fest and Leftapalooza.

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Summer Brew Fest at Mile High Station 2013

The Summer Brew Fest happened on July 26th, which was a warm and beautiful summer evening, the perfect setting for some Friday evening beers and music with several hundred Denverites.  Even though they throw these Brew Fest shindigs every summer and winter, this was our first.  It will most certainly not be our last.  We  loved everything about the Summer Brew Fest.   The beer selection was great, with over 45 breweries and 125 beers to sample.  The venue, Mile High Station, was fabulous.  There were beer tables set up inside and outside, upstairs and downstairs.  Surrounded by exposed brick and iron the atmosphere at Mile High Station is spacious and picturesque on its own accord.  Add beer, and it’s heaven.

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Summer Brew Fest at Mile High Station

Tickets for the Summer Brew Fest were $40 for VIP (6pm-10pm) and $30 for GA (7pm-10pm).  We paid a bit extra for the VIP tickets, which was totally worth it.  You can do a lot of damage in an hour, especially when there are no lines.  There were beer from both far and near.  Abita to Wynkoop.  We tried beers we weren’t familiar with from breweries such as No-Li and Yak and Yeti, and old favorites such as Breckenridge and Renegade.  We even had something called Wicked Hard, a malt beverage that tasted suspiciously like soda pop.  There was an impressive selection of several delicious brews from many top-notch breweries.

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Summer Brew Fest at Mile High Station

Outside there was a stage for live music, featuring 22 Kings (who we missed) and The Congress (who kicked ass.)    There were also a few food trucks, more beer, and vendors, such as Duke’s Small Batch Smoked Meats.  Whomever thought to put a jerky stand at a beer fest is a genius.  Duke’s was delicious and we ended up buying 4 bags.   Great beer, fabulous music, tasty jerky.  It all added up to a stellar night.   Now that the Summer Brew Fest is one of our favorite festivals, we can’t wait to see how the Winter Brew Fest stacks up.

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Rocking on… at Leftapalooza 2013

The following weekend was Leftapalooza at Left Hand Brewing.   Like the Summer Brew Fest, we’d never attended Leftapalooza before, but we were super psyched to check out the battle of the tribute bands!   We started our day in Longmont with a not-so-quick lunch at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquid and Solids.  Lunch was great and OB rocked as usual… but sadly this diversion caused us to miss the first two bands – The Dirty Femmes (Violent Femmes tribute) and Dreamboat Annie (Heart tribute.)  Seriously, I’m still not over this, I was really looking forward to these two acts.  I need to find and see these bands STAT.

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The Flying W’s

On the upside, we arrived just in time for the rest of the lineup, which included some truly amazing tribute bands.  We got to see the Flying W’s (Weezer tribute) who rocked the house, and made a special appearance just for this show since they technically split sometime last year.  Other highlights of the day were the Rush Archives (Rush) and Hey, Lady! (B-52s).   Those last two were simply unbelievable.  Hey, Lady was last year’s winner and it was instantly clear why.  They took the stage and unleashed a dance party like nobody else, getting everyone at Left Hand on their feet and dancing.  Rush Archives was surprisingly awesome.  I knew Mr. BMT was a Rush fan, but they turned me into a Rush fanatic as well.   They rocked, hard.  Rush Archives was the surprise of the day and stole the show and this year’s Best Tribute Band title.   Nicely done, boys.  Overall, all the bands were really good.  Socks were rocked off, booties were shaken.  In a word, it was a BLAST.

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Rush Archives

As if the kick-ass music wasn’t enough, Left Hand kept a rotating selection of their drafts available all day, and they were all delicious.  400 Pound Monkey?  Yes, please!  Those cold and refreshing Left Hand beers went down nice and easy on such a hot summer day.  It was so hot that when the clouds began to roll in, it was a refreshing break from the heat.   Mother Nature cooled us off with quite the downpour midway through the day, scaring off a few of our friends, but we held our ground.  For as dark and stormy as it looked, most of it blew past us and there was only a brief downpour, which we escaped under the Left Hand tent.   We give the rain credit for the fun hippy-watching we got to experience as the more granola-y in the crowd danced barefoot in the rain while Tookus (the Allman Brothers cover) played through the storm.  That was a sight worth seeing.

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We (Heart) Hey Lady, too!

Like the Brew Fest, Leftapalooza is an event we will try to never miss again.  The entire party was remarkable, and the bands were just unbelievable.   Beer, food, music, dancing… it was such a fun day.   Best of all, it was a good time for a good cause, with proceeds going to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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Hey, Lady!

This is just a few of the fun events we’ve been lucky enough to attend during these last several weeks of summer.  Expect more long-overdue updates in the next few days.  For now, we hope you enjoy the rest of our pictures from Summer Brew Fest and Leftapalooza.  Mark your calendars for both of these events next year, you will not be disappointed!

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Cheers!