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2011 Press Release
May 25, 2011
Kirsten Texler, 970-331-2121

Big Beers Festival Organizer Grants Interview
Co-Founder and Organizer Laura Lodge Discusses Charity Event

Vail, Colorado - Chris Bauweraerts,  featured brewmaster for the 2011 Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival in Vail, Colorado, didn't start his career crafting excellent beers.  In fact, the co-founder of Brasserie D'Achouffe began his professional life as a mechanical engineer.  And apparently a career that requires detail, precision and technical finesse translates beautifully into having what it takes to run a craft beer operation.  It also means that the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival, a world-class international event held in January in Vail, Colorado can allow industry celebrities like Bauweraerts a chance to share his unique "insider" views on brewing during formal sessions, select dinners and casually throughout the festival.

Predating his status as co-owner of one of the premier breweries in the world, Bauweraerts  is a beer enthusiast and originally a homebrewer, but not a large production hands-on creator; he prefers to focus on the sales and marketing side of the business.  Many other brewmasters focus solely on their beers, but Bauweraerts realized the power of letting people know about the history, science and stories that exist beyond the beer as well as the mechanics of how it works, and how those aspects critically support the industry.  Melding his scientific eye to oversee the proper positioning for the beer, and then focusing on marketing the product for success, Bauweraerts  understands the importance of sharing the stories behind the product.

Those stories came in handy when he shared them with the eager, standing-room only audience at last year's Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines event held at the Vail Cascade Resort.  With his booming Belgian accent, he told tales of starting a small hobby brewery in Achouffe, a hamlet with thirty-seven residents tucked far into the Ardennes forest, and then switched gears by showcasing  Belgian beers in his "SlowBeer Tour of Belgium" seminar.  In Bauweraerts' role as Featured Brewmaster, he featured beers alongside his Chouffe products that were all part of the Duvel-Moortgat portfolio of beers-a great way to show the diversity of Belgian products.  The beer expert presented information that stretched far and wide, providing all attendees an opportunity to explore the complex world of beer far beyond simple grocery store beverages. 

And that was only one of the featured presenters.  Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines takes pride in providing at least six different seminars with topics and knowledge levels appropriate for everyone, a bonus that few other festivals can brag about.  For instance, at last year's event, Sam Calagione shared his experience traveling with the Discovery Channel's show "Brew Masters," and Daniel Bradford from All About Beer Magazine presented a "Hops, Hops & More Hops" seminar.

This year will be no exception when new faces take the stage January 5-7, 2012 in Vail.  Returning as a festival favorite is the" Smackdown," a food and beer pairing challenge between enthusiastic brewmasters and importers.  Not to be missed is the Ray Daniels'  Cicerone Workshop, where participants learn about and/or brush up on their knowledge and skills  with regard to beer serving protocol, the various styles, equipment handling and more of the finer points.  Later in the day, candidates can take on the challenge of the Certified Cicerone Exam. 

Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines event organizers are finalizing the luminaries in specialty brew areas for this year's event in January.  They'll carry on from Bauweraerts' storytelling to choose other fascinating characters with stories about the history of their beers, or perhaps an unusual location for production,  or maybe even the muse that inspires them to craft exceptional brews.  No doubt there will be a myriad of stories from the beer world that will keep all attendees captivated.


For information about tickets, schedules and much more, please visit  Sign up for the 12th Annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival Weekend and come to Vail to experience the event that beer connoisseurs are raving about. Homebrewers, Professional Brewers and Industry Gurus alike speak highly with regard to the unique format, the unusual international collection of beers, the organization and the overall quality of the event.

For those of you who are Big Beers Festival veterans, this 12th Anniversary celebration promises to live up to your previous experiences and take it one step further. Look forward to more goodies from Chef Votaw at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, calibrate with Dogfish Head and Avery, enjoy special features by featured brewmasters, and sample over 200 amazing creations by breweries from around the globe.

The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival is a three day event featuring educational
seminars, two Brewmasters dinners, a Commercial Tasting, a homebrew competition and other tastings and pairings. Designed to welcome the beer connoisseur, the innovative homebrewer, or the novice taster, participants will find events appropriate for all levels of interest.

The festival regularly draws breweries from around the world offering literally hundreds of choices. The beer & food pairing competition is a popular option as well as the Cicerone
Workshop, a program similar to the Sommelier designation in the world of wine.

Additionally, the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival actively supports the efforts of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, a local organization that helps individuals who live and work in the Vail Valley that have critical financial need due to medical catastrophes, accidents or long-term illnesses. For more information about the VVCF, visit Contact Big Beers,
Barleywines Festival at and follow the event on Facebook.


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