Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival returns to Breckenridge | PostIndependent.com

Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival returns to Breckenridge

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Meet renowned brewmasters and brewery owners, taste hundreds of big, Belgian style and experimental beers, explore beer and food pairings, and learn from an impressive array of brewmasters and industry experts over an action-packed three day weekend at the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival in Breckenridge.

BRECKENRIDGE — If beer was included in your goals for 2018, then the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival has you covered.

The event's 18th anniversary kicks off Thursday, Jan. 4, at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge with pairing dinners, educational seminars, affiliated events around town and much more. Visit http://www.bigbeers festival.com for the full schedule.

"Education has been a primary focus of the Big Beers Festival since its inception," said Laura Lodge, event coordinator, "and when we started the not-for-profit Big Beers Educational Foundation, we wanted to emphasize exactly that."

Come one, come all

You can see from the seminar lineup for the 2018 Big Beers weekend that the team takes education seriously.

Brewmasters and industry specialists are featured for the lion's share of the seminar schedule, with a variety of classroom and experiential elements included. Attendees will taste straight from the barrels in the sour program at Avery Brewing Co. with Andy Parker, special projects manager and barrel herder. As an added bonus, they will learn about where those flavors originate with Patrick Coombs, Avery's Mad Sensory Scientist, in their seminar "Adventures in Babysitting Barrels." In contrast, participants will become teams in "Pairing Your Way," coming to a consensus about the best pairings that can be made from the beer and food presented by Jeff Mendel and JoAnne Carilli-Stevenson, of Sapere Aude.

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Seminars are available for the aficionado with no interest in actually brewing as well as those who are advanced homebrewers or pro brewers. Dr. Nicole Garneau, of DraughtLab LLC, is a sensory scientist, and she will be guiding attendees through "The Science of Pairing with Spicy Foods," and John Holl, senior editor of craft beer at Brewing Magazine, will lead the discussion and tasting about "The Coffee in Your Beer."

On the more advanced side, featured brewmasters Jeffrey Stuffings, of Jester King, and Cory King, of Side Project Brewing, will be "Tasting the Native Culture" of both breweries, and Jester King Head Brewer Averie Swanson will be joining forces with King for "Blending: Approaches and Philosophies of Side Project & Jester King."

Further, Jensen Cummings with Good Bugs and Brewed Food will lead his panel into the depths of "Good Bugs: Flavor Expression of Fermentation" with his savvy panel; master brewer Annie Johnson of PicoBrew will be teaching about "Homebrewing Belgian Styles: The Champagne Method"; and Neil Fisher of WeldWerks and Ross Koenigs of New Belgium will share their lab results with fellow brewers in the 2018 Experimental Brewing Seminar titled "New England IPAs: The Bitterness Challenge."

Tickets

To attend these seminars and more, general admission to all is included with the purchase of a Commercial Tasting & Seminars ticket on the Big Beers Festival website. Three seminars are complimentary and open to walk-ins, however, including the Cicerone Workshop on Friday morning, the Cigar Pairing Experience Friday night, and this year's "Fruitful Yoga Pairings" on Saturday morning.

For additional information about purchasing reserved seats to these seminars, buying Commercial Tasting & Seminars tickets for the weekend, getting lodging and equipment discounts for destination travelers, and more about the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival overall, visit the website at http://www.BigBeersFestival.com or contact festival organizer Laura Lodge at Laura@BigBeersFestival.com.

If you go …

What: Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival.

Where: Breckenridge.

When: Thursday to Saturday, Jan. 4-6.

Cost: Prices vary for each seminar; there are a few free seminars.

More information: Visit http://www.bigbeersfestival.com.