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2016 Events and Weekend Schedule
Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival

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10th Anniversary Big Beers Event

by The Brew Crew


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It’s the perfect combination for a Winter Wonderland getaway: A world-class beer festival at a world-class ski resort! There are discounted ski/snowboard rentals available, discounted lodging, and other arrangements made for Big Beers Festival attendees. Almost all of the Sixteenth Anniversary weekend will be held at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa; the Small Plates & Craft Beer Pairing will be held at Terra Bistro in the Vail Mountain Lodge, and we're waiting to hear about the new CraftBeer.com dinner. We'll update you on that asap.

Traveling to Big Beers? Check out our Traveling Promotion Tasting!
I-70 Traveling Promotion Tasting

Thursday Schedule
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Thursday (6–9 pm) is our opportunity to thank all of the breweries and importers who make this weekend possible. Our second annual Brewers Reception will be held in the Vail Cascade Resort with much fun and camaraderie. BSG Craft Brewing is sponsoring the event, and we thank the brewers for donating libations for the festivities. This is a closed event; brewers and importers only.

Thursday evening (7:30 pm) opens the Sixteenth Anniversary Big Beers Festival Weekend in traditional Big Beers style! Enjoy a double beer pairing dinner with fantastic creations from both Avery and Dogfish Head at each course. This year, Adam Avery will be hosting the Calibration Dinner with Tim Hawn, Brewmaster for Dogfish Head, and the Vail Cascade culinary team. See the Brewmasters’ Dinner page for further information.

Thursday evening (time TBD) CraftBeer.com will be hosting an off-site dinner. More information to be posted as it is finalized.

Friday Schedule
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Friday morning (8:30 am–noon) is the opportunity to bone up on your knowledge of everything about beer & brewing. The Cicerone team will be here to lead this morning workshop! And thanks to All About Beer Magazine, our signature sponsor for this event, the $99 fee per person will be waived. Take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity in Vail! For more information, see the Seminars page.

Friday morning (9:30 am–noon) is the first session for the American Homebrewers Association-sanctioned Belgians, Barleywines and Strong Ales Homebrew Competition. This event is a judging by a select judging panel for entries registered in advance. For more information about the competition, see the Homebrew Competition page.  Spectators and interested parties are welcome to attend, although participation is by prior arrangement only. We thank Brew Your Own Magazine for their sponsorship of the Big Beers Homebrew Competition.

"(Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines) has become my favorite fest of the year. True camaraderie paired with a high level of brewing knowledge in a relaxed setting." 
- J. Todd Usry, Brewery Director for Breckenridge Breweries, Denver, CO

Friday afternoon (12:00–1:00pm) is our Welcome Reception in which the following breweries will be highlighted: The Bruery, Deschutes Brewing Co., and another TBD. Each brewery will be showcasing a beer of their choice with a food pairing designed by Exec Chef Chris Bates and his culinary team at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa. In addition to tasting, the Welcome Reception also offers the opportunity to hobnob with some of the most innovative brewers in the world. Guests attending multiple weekend events, Volunteers, Judges, Brewers and Brewery Representatives are welcome to drop in. We thank YCH Hops for their support of this event!

Friday afternoon (1:00 pm) is the second session for the American Homebrewers Association-sanctioned Belgians, Barleywines and Strong Ales Homebrew Competition. This event is a judging by a select judging panel for entries registered in advance. For more information about the competition, see the Homebrew Competition page.  Spectators and interested parties are welcome to attend, although participation is by prior arrangement only. We thank Brew Your Own Magazine for their sponsorship of the Big Beers Homebrew Competition.

Friday afternoon (2:30 pm) is your opportunity to become a Certified Cicerone! The Cicerone Team will be administering the Certified Cicerone Exam to interested parties who have passed the online Certified Beer Server exam. For more information, see the Seminars page.

Friday afternoon (4:30–6:00 pm)
Our new Small Plates & Craft Beer Pairing event will be held off-site at Terra Bistro. The two Brewmasters featured for this dinner will be Paul & Kim Kavulak of Nebraska Brewing and Cory King of Perennial Artisan Ales.  John Holl, Editor of All About Beer Magazine, will be your Master of Ceremonies. See the Brewmasters’ Dinner page for further information.

Friday evening (6:00–7:00 pm)
CraftBeer.com presents "Craftbeer.com Beer and Food Experience" with Chef Adam Dulye and Julia Herz. Foodies and beer geeks unite while we help tune your inner pairing guide during this unique and cutting edge demonstration. Get ready to enjoy craft beers from small and independent U.S. brewers along with a strategic pairing plate of locally sourced ingredients representing the basic tastes of sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami while we take your palate and mind on a ride. See the Brewmasters’ Dinner page for further information.

vail, COFriday evening (7:30 pm) is the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Traditional Brewmasters’ Dinner highlighting our 2016 Featured Brewmasters, Geoff Larson from Alaskan Brewing & Bottling Co., and Omar Ansari, Owner of Surly Brewing Co. Join us for a second evening of double beer pairing fun! See the Brewmasters’ Dinner page for further information.

Friday Evening (10pm–midnight) Cigar Pairing Experience - Join us for cigars and great craft beer with Paul Gatza of the Brewers Association and Greg & Bridgette Geiger. Experiment with various pairings and visit with the people behind the cigars and the featured pairings. No ticket required for this event, and no formal presentation. Come and go as you like. Bring a jacket for smoking cigars outside.  See the Seminars page for further information.

Saturday Schedule
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"This is one killer beer festival. I look forward to it now every year, and it continues to be my very favoritist beer festival."
- Eric Steen, Focus on the Beer

Saturday morning (9:30–11:30 am) is one of the many highlights of our Big Beers Festival Weekend: our Experimental Brewing Seminar, titled “Brewing Outside of the Box: Brewers Gone Wild!” The topic for this year's seminar is “Koelschips”. Presenters are Jason Perkins of Allagash Brewing Co., Jason Yester of Trinity Brewing Co., Jeffrey Stuffings of Jester King Brewery, and Chase Healey of Prairie Artisan Ales. The Barrel in Estes Park and Mueller & Associates CPA are Co-Sponsors of this crazy panel, and David Edgar will lead the charge and try to keep them under control. See the Seminars page for further information.

Saturday Morning (10–11 am)
The Yoga of Brewing: Discover yogic wisdom and practices to enhance your skill as both a brewer and a consumer of amazing beer. This session is the perfect way to prepare your body, mind, and soul to receive the outstanding selection of beers coming your way throughout the day. Join Registered Yoga Teacher and beer lover (especially Belgians, Big Beers, and Barleywines) Stephanie Long for this experiential session. No yoga experience, mat, or yoga pants required! Roll out of bed for your first - and most unique - pairing of the day.  No ticket required for this event. See the Seminars page for further information.

Saturday First Session Seminars (12:00 pm– 12:50 pm)

  • Brewmasters Seminar Track: Geoff Larson of Alaskan Brewing Co. will be speaking about "Thirty Years of Award Winning Beers and Local Ingredients." See the Seminars page for further information.

  • Technical Seminar Track: Troy Casey of Casey Blending & Brewing will be speaking on "Check The Blend: Tasting a Blend of The Cut from Start to Finish". See the Seminars page for further information.

  • Sensory Workshop Track: "Miracles From Mistakes." Moderated by John Holl of All About Beer Magazine, learn tips and techniques to make better beer, learn from mistakes, and get some insight into the challenging and ultimately rewarding profession of brewing beer. See the Seminars page for further information.

  • Random Track: "Experimental Homebrewing - Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer". Join Denny Conn & Drew Beechum for homebrewing wizardry. More details to come.  See the Seminars page for further information. 

Saturday Second Session Seminars (1:15 pm– 2:05 pm)

  • Brewmasters Seminar Track: Omar Ansari, Owner of Surly Brewing Co. will be speaking on the subject of "TBD". See the Seminars page for further information.

  • Technical Seminar Track: Learn about “Sourcing Barrels” with Noah Steingraeber of Rocky Mountain Barrel Company and a panel of barrel specialists from various breweries.  See the Seminars page for further information.

  • Sensory Workshop Track: Join us for "How to Cook With Beer: Wandering Around Your Kitchen With Ginger" with Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer. More details to come.  See the Seminars page for further information.

  • Random Track: "Build Your Beer IQ: The Science Behind Flavor" with Dr. Nicole Garneau of Flavor Lab, LLC. More details forthcoming. See the Seminars page for further information.
"(We) have made some friends that we see each year at this event and we look forward to it every year. For us, this festival combines snowboarding, fantastic beer, a beautiful setting, and great friends...it doesn't get much better!"
- Darrell Maudlin, Homebrewer, Houston, TX

Saturday afternoon (2:30–6:00 pm), the Commercial Tasting portion of the Big Beers Festival begins at 2:30 pm and continues through until 6:00pm. This international tasting is open to the public and showcases over 300 different commercially produced specialty beers from around the world.

Saturday afternoon (3:30 pm), Saturday’s Commercial Tasting event includes the 2016 Homebrew Competition Awards Presentation.


Lodging Rates and Information



vail valley charitable fundThe 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 www.vvcf.org, email info@vvcf.org or contact Michelle Maloney, 970-524-1480.

 

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