If you know anything about Colorado, it comes as no surprise that Coloradans love their mountains, outdoor activities, and — of course — their beer. Hence the raison d'etre for the first-ever Vail Craft Beer Classic, a new summer festival that debuts in Vail Village and on Vail Mountain June 16-18. Here's what you need to know:
Over 300 beers will be on tap from brewers around the western United States, with a particular focus on Colorado, in addition to a few international breweries. The fun begins Friday evening with a beer and BBQ feast atop Vail Mountain at Eagle's Nest (June 16, 6-9 p.m.; $70), reprised by another tasting in Solaris Square and various Vail Village venues on Saturday (Dubbed "A Toast of Vail," nach; June 17, 3-6 p.m.; $55). But there's more to the fest than beer. On Saturday and Sunday that weekend, you'll have your pick of beer-centric activities, from a flyfishing seminar on the Eagle River hosted by Elevation Beer Company ("Pretty Fly for a Pint Guy," June 17, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; $195) and a guided mountain bike ride on Vail Mountain hosted by Odell Brewing Co. ("Bikes & Barley," June 17, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; $55) to a guided hike on Vail Mountain followed by a beer pairing lunch at Vail Chophouse hosted by Horse & Dragon Brewing ("Hike & Hops," June 17, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.; $50) and yoga at Ford Park paired with a beer tasting at Vail Brewing Company ("Nama'stay for a Beer," June 18, 10-11:30 a.m.; $30). Not-so-active beer aficionados also can geek out on seminars, from the joys of barrel aging (June 17, 4 p.m.; free with Toast of Vail admission) to a discussion of the merits of beer aged in wine barrels (June 17, 5 p.m.; free with Toast of Vail admission). Looking for a Father's Day gift that will be better appreciated than another bottle of Old Spice or a cliche "World's Greatest Dad" coffee mug? The Craft Beer Classic has you covered there, too, with a special Father's Day "Beerunch" at the Swiss Chalet (June 18, 10 a.m.; $44).
So, now that you've got the scoop, how do you attend the first-ever event?
Pick and choose which events you want to attend and purchase online; insider tip: bypass the crowds that are all-but-certain to descend upon the main event on Saturday with an $85 VIP ticket that earns you early admission (at 2 p.m.) to a Toast of Vail.