Gnarly Barley Brew Festival 2013
Kicking off its fifth annual installment, The Gnarly Barley Brew Fest is a fun, family oriented event located at The Ranch (aka The Budweiser Event Center) in Loveland, CO. Coupled with a fair and carnival, it’s a good time for the whole family. That’s not to say there isn’t an abundance of delicious beer to be had.
Showcasing 30 different breweries from across the country, there is something for everyone. Tents and taps were set up by local favorites Black Bottle, Loveland Aleworks, Verboten, and Pateros Creek, to Colorado favorites Breckenridge, City Star, and Left Hand, and more. But this wasn’t strictly Colorado beers; also present were Goose Island out of Chicago, Firestone Walker from California, and Sam Adams out of Boston. With so many different beers to chose from, there was something for everyone. There was even a representation of Twisted Tea and Lime-A-Ritas (not to encourage this type of behavior, but it was available).
Festival attendees were given a token to vote for their favorite brewery, with Grimm Brother’s being the front runner to beat. Having won the People’s Choice award for the last three years, there was some stiff competition. But somehow, High Hops defied the odds and managed to steal the top spot to become this year’s winner, followed by Loveland Aleworks and Verboten.
The festival also continued their annual homebrew competition wherein the 1st place winner received the opportunity to partner with Grimm Brother’s for a day to brew their own professional quality beer.
Live music, great beer, and festival food made for a great day… until Mother Nature stepped in. In about 15 minutes, the day went from 80 degrees and sunny to a torrential downpour and tornado warnings. Everyone tried to tear down their tents and get to shelter as quickly as possible while grabbing a few pitchers of beer to ride out the storm.
Somehow, everyone made it out unscathed, and we all proceeded to imbibe in celebratory drinks. Lots of ‘em. Suffice to say, this year’s festival was quite heavy on the ‘gnarly’, but still plenty of ‘barley’ as well.
All in all, I call it a win, and plan to go next year. I’d recommend you do the same.