Well, if you weren’t there, you missed it. There were no lines for beer, there were celebrity and aspiring brewers pouring their own wares, and there were many-a-food-tent setup with tasty nosh for pairing. Rhymes With Paste’s Inaugural Fort Love Brewers Jamboree boasted lots of brewer cameos. I had the father of sour beer in America, Peter Boukeart of New Belgium lore, pour me a NBB Love. Then we joked around while we tasted his life’s study, his hard work. He poured his livelihood into a glass for me to imbibe and then talked about how it was made. The goal of the this festival was to bring attention to the craft brewing industry as a whole. This festival did that and so much more.
Fort Love Brewers Jamboree invited every brewery in Fort Collins and Loveland to attend the fest and have their brewers pour the beer they brewed, pair their wares with local food artisans and to talk about their craft and imbue some knowledge on the lovers of the craft. The festival accomplished this and so much more. See just why this is a strong candidate for one of our favorite festivals of the year!
Home to the Brewers Association and the legendary Great American Beer Festival, the Rocky Mountain State is a workhorse for the economy and a true champion of craft beer and it’s lifestyle. A seminal hotbed of excellent brewers that inspire other brewers to move from the garage to the industrial sections of your favorite city. The Fort Love Brewers Jamboree invited every craft brewer from Fort Collins and Loveland to pour their scrumptious offerings at the Inaugural Fort Love Brewers Jamboree. And we are super stoked that they did.
Sure, it looked like it was going to rain. As we barreled down I-25 north towards Ft Fun, we saw the ominous clouds forming to the west, hanging over the Rocky Mountains . . . just waiting to open up over the festival. But we continued on. Rain can fuss off for all we care. Let’s have a beer about it, amirite?!? But the rain didn’t ‘dampen’ anyone’s spirits; because, the storm actually moved right around the festival. It was a beer festival miracle! As we parked at the Civic Center Parking garage, we made the hike to the event; umbrella-less and thirsty.
We met up with some other event-patrons trying to na’vi-gate the trailhead (constructive criticism: signs pointing the way to the festival would’ve helped) and headed north on Mason. Through some dirt trails, our true apprehension was walking back on this trail if it rained. Luckily, we were blessed with no rain. No rain at all. Fuss yeah!
Once upon the site location, right along the Cache La Poudre River, the Legacy Park provided such a great backdrop that we forgot we were at a beer festival for a second. The line to get in was non-existent and we were handed a well-planned guide and a high quality tulip glass on our way in. Fort Love Brewers Jamboree volunteers were everywhere to help point us to where we wanted to go. We walked front tent to tent high-fiving all of our local brethren when we noticed that we were able to chit chat with them without anyone waiting in line behind us. This is OUR kind of event. A collaborative event based on a bunch of breweries being able to get together and brew beers that they can pour straight to the consumer, and then, we get to talk about how inclusive the industry can be whilst drinking their creations? Heck yes. That’s the shit we do like.
The spacious park with low attendance made moving around the grounds extremely easy and we could spot each other really well when we got diverted by a beer hunter or another beer colleague. We had forty plus specialty beers to try so we didn’t make light of the opportunity to drink in the good time either. So, here is a quick breakdown of our biggest discoveries, favorite brews from the Brewers Jamboree festival and our takeaways from the extremely well run and facilitated event.
Blessed by the Locals
We are no strangers to a wealth of craft beer goodness here in Colorado. But having breweries showcased by demographic and local discretion doesn’t hurt either. Thanks to everyone that made it out from Fort Collins and Loveland. We can’t wait for you to get bigger or get more accounts in the market or send some of your delicious brews to Denver.
Our biggest discoveries from Brewers Jamboree were from Verboten Brewing and Pateros Creek. And to be completely honest, I have not had great showings from my past experiences with Pateros in their infancy. This time around, I can’t speak highly enough of their past shortcomings and they strides they have made since those early days. Good on you folks. That Peanut Brittle Red was no fucking joke. Verboten Brewing continues to introduce unique twists on all things craft beer. That Pennsylvania Swankey aged in Absinthe barrels harkens back to an age of artistry and visionary prowess. This brew embodied that spirit and was a true “slow dance with the green fairy.”
Our favorite beers from Brewers Jamboree
Verboten’s Pennsylvania Swankey aged in Absinthe barrels made with anise seed and star anise. This was pretty much absinthe in beer form. And that’s that shit I DO LIKE!
Patero’s Creek’s Peanut Brittle Red brewed with roasted peanuts and yielding bright toffee notes. This shit tasted just like mom’s freshly baked predecessor and inspiration.
Snack Tent – Aged goat cheddar on local made crackers by Fox & Crow Cheese Shop. Sheep’s cheese with mustard. Salami and other cured meats by the Boar & Bull. These were smaller bites but super tasty. That bourbon-beer mustard was on point!
Taco Tent – A Chicken Fajita Taco or a Pork Carnitas Taco by Austin Taco. The Pork Carnitas taco needed some veggies, or some acid component or another crunch factor. But that Chicken Fajita taco was good.
Slider Tent – Bear’s Backyard Grill featured two sliders for you to choose from… Nobel’s Peaceballs – Hazel Dell mushrooms, local beef and local pork were all featured in this traditional Swedish-style meatball, and served with a mushroom sauce on a grilled slider roll. We also sampled the Jalapeno Bizznesss! – Fresh garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro was featured in this spicy meatball made with local pork and beef. Served on a bed of cilantro-lime coleslaw with a green chili sauce.
Sweet Tent – The folks over at Culinary Chaos killed it. Nay, they slayed it! They provided two offerings. The first was a hazelnut crust tart with chocolate mousse, flaked sea salt and bourbon caramel. It pairs well with any bourbon or barrel aged beer but our favorite was Verboten’s BA offering of Angry Banjo with Cherries. They also brought a Tulie Cookie with pasty cream filling and topped with a fresh raspberry. This paired so well with Funkwerk’s Reuben’s Belgian Tripel.
Neue Polka Colorado led patrons into the event at 2pm. You can check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NPColorado for more info. They played old Oktoberfest’y songs as well as Polka covers of modern hits!
Cary Morin and his finger style blues guitar played the second leg at 3pm. Check out his music and website at http://www.carymorin.com. This dude sounded like a one-man ZZ Top.
The Cache La Poudre River and Big Thompson are vital natural resources to the communities in Northern Colorado. Also, water is a main ingredient in beer which is why the festival was hosted to raise support for Save the Poudre.
If there is a downside to a festival like this
Mapping out that walk from Old Town would’ve made things a bit easier as we hiked to the park, food offerings were great but portion size could have been adjusted to the smaller crowd. As with Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp festival, less people and the same amount of beer provided shorter lines, yielding faster drinking times. Although no one was out of sorts, five plus hours of drinking and just a few bites of food could be treacherous for a newcomer. Signage in the park would have helped our hike but with our smart phones we made it just fine. Someone’s parents would have got lost as shit up in ther’, though.
Why we truly loved this festival
Food options, location, collaboration and camaraderie, layout and facilitation, and of course the close knit community of craft brewers. This localized and beer-culture promoting, education-forward focused event is one to take in to slow down and really enjoy beer and all of its glory. If you are just looking to get uncled, this event may not be for you. We loved the signage toward the line queue that had descriptions of the beer in case you were waiting in a line. This is something a lot of other promoters could use in order to help patrons determine whether or not they wanted to wait in line for the specific brewery. Kudos on those place markers. The brewers involvement and learning sessions were a nice touch and made the event much more of an intimate affair. Also, John and Tee were amazing to work with and were super accommodating with setting this event up and facilitating the festivities. Once again, great job folks! Can’t wait for next year!