As snow begins to fall and ski resorts entice travelers with their terrain, activities, shopping and dining, Vail adds craft beer to its list of winter lures. On Jan. 9-11, Vail Cascade will host the 14th Annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival. Today, festival producers announced that Cam O’Connor with Deschutes Brewing Co. and Scott Vaccaro with Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. will be the festival’s 2014 Featured Brewmasters, a long-standing tradition that gives two brewmasters the opportunity to host the Traditional Brewmasters’ Dinner and lead educational seminars during the festival. In addition, festival coordinators announced that Adam Avery with Avery Brewing and Sam Calagione with Dogfish Head Brewing will return to host the Calibration Dinner and Gordon Schuck with Funkwerks and Jared Jankoski with Goose Island Beer Co. will host the inaugural Village Brewmasters Dinner.
To open the weekend, Adam Avery, president and brewmaster at Avery Brewing in Boulder, CO, and Sam Calagione, founder and president at Dogfish Head Brewing in Milton, DE, return to co-host the popular Calibration Dinner on Thursday evening. A festival tradition, the Calibration Dinner features Avery and Dogfish Head specialty products with each course that Executive Chef Todd Bemis and his team at Atwater on Gore Creek create for the dinner. All Big Beers Festival brewmasters’ dinners are designed to be ‘double beer pairing’ dinners, meaning that each course is paired with one beer from each brewery – considerably more challenging for menu creation than the usual single beer per course.
On Friday evening, Cam O’Connor, brewmaster for Deschutes Brewing Co. in Bend, OR, and Scott Vaccaro, owner/brewmaster for Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. in Elmsford, NY, will co-host the Traditional Brewmasters’ Dinner. On Saturday, the duo will also present an educational seminar for attendees. “Cam and Scott will offer a unique opportunity for our attendees to enjoy both East Coast and West Coast craft beers with each course at dinner,” said Laura Lodge, event coordinator. “It’s also fun to bring in breweries whose beers aren’t available in Colorado, and Captain Lawrence products will be new to many of our attendees.”
Festival coordinators also added a new “Village Brewmasters’ Dinner” to be held at Manor Vail Resort in The Lord Gore Restaurant on Friday. Gordon Schuck, founder/brewmaster of Funkwerks in Ft. Collins, CO, and Jared Jankoski, head brewer of Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago, IL, will co-host this inaugural dinner. Executive Chef Weston Schroeder will head up the menu development with his team at The Lord Gore, promising an interesting and tasty evening built around the predominantly Belgian style beers from both Brewmasters.
The Big Beers Festival weekend features a variety of educational seminars, a Welcome Reception, homebrew competition judging (entries due in December), and the grand finale Commercial Tasting on Saturday afternoon in addition to the aforementioned dinners. All craft and specialty beer products are required to be big (over 7% abv), Belgian in style, or experimental in nature for all events throughout the weekend. More than 100 craft breweries and importers are expected to be showcasing their products at the 2014 Commercial Tasting. Attendees can also expect to find an interesting and unusual variety of craft beer available at the Vail Cascade over the weekend, as many brewers donate their products to be featured in a tasty fund raiser for the Vail Valley Charitable Fund.
Ticket sales kicked off in September, but tickets are still available for the Commercial Tasting and some seminars. For more information about the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival or to purchase tickets and learn about discounted lodging rates, visit www.bigbeersfestival.com. Further information about the host property, Vail Cascade, can be found at www.vailcascade.com and additional information about the Vail Valley Charitable Fund is located at www.vvcf.org.
About Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines:
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 curious about craft beer, 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 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. Contact the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival at www.bigbeersfestival.com.
About Vail Cascade:
Vail Cascade is a creek side, ski-in/ski-out base camp to the very best of Colorado — in every season. With the finest features of an alpine village, Vail Cascade nurtures guests with a wide expanse of natural beauty; Vail’s most comprehensive conference facility; the incomparable Aria Athletic Club & Spa; creative Colorado cuisine and craft beer in Atwater on Gore Creek; and a wide variety of accommodation offerings, including condominiums and private homes ideal for extended stays. Along with every amenity necessary to make the most of each stay, guests enjoy engaging experiences delivered by a team whose true passion is to serve and share the Colorado they love in the most genuine and meaningful way. Visit www.VailCascade.com and call 800.282.4183 for more information.