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 Vail Craft Beer Classic, a summer festival that returns to Vail Village and Vail Mountain June 15-17 for its second-ever stop in the valley. 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 "Sip at the Summit"—the state's highest elevation beer tasting—atop Vail Mountain at Eagle's Nest (June 15, 6-9 p.m.; $65), reprised by another tasting in Solaris Square and various Vail Village venues on Saturday (Dubbed "A Toast of Vail,"; June 16, 3-6 p.m.; $49). 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 fly fishing seminar on the Eagle River with picnic lunch and complimentary brews ("Off the Hook," June 16, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; $195) and a guided mountain bike ride on Vail Mountain hosted by Odell Brewing Co. and Boulder Brewing Company ("Bikes & Barley," June 16, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; $60) to a guided hike on Vail Mountain followed by a beer pairing lunch at Vail Chophouse hosted by Horse & Dragon Brewing ("Hike & Hops," June 16, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; $60). Not-so-active beer aficionados also can geek out on seminars, from the a discussion (and tasting) on beer pairings with Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and local wine bar Root & Flower ("Grapes vs. Grains," June 16, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.; $35) to a summer seasonals brewers lunch (June 16, 12 to 2 p.m.; $65). 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 Four Seasons (June 17, 10 a.m.; $45).
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 $79 VIP ticket that earns you early admission (at 2 p.m.) to a Toast of Vail.