Jun 292004
 
Authors: Evan Truesdale

Under the heat of the weekend sun, the Fort Collins community

thronged to the beer trucks in Old Town to sample Colorado’s finest

small and large brews at the Colorado Brewers Festival, also known

as brewfest.

As people strolled through Old Town, cold beers in hand, the

sounds of six different bands drifted through the air throughout

the weekend.

“I’m lovin’ the atmosphere, I’m lovin’ the beer, lovin’ the

choices,” said Megan Garrity, an attendee of this years

brewfest.

Despite Garrity’s positive outlook of the festival, some people

grumbled over the event’s price.

“They could lower the cost a little bit,” said Patty Johnstone,

a community member. “It’s a good way to get the community together

and try all the different beers in Colorado. I think they do a

really good job with the music and the different types of beers

that come out.”

As the bands began playing their sets, Brakeman Junction

announced that it had played its final show as it shared the stage

with the horn section of local ska/reggae band, 12 � for

Marvin. The set was a crowd-pleasing set that culminated in a

jam-band-style final song that was met with a roar of applause as

the drummer pounded the cymbals for the final time.

The people then dispersed to the beer vendors to get new drinks

while the other members of 12 � for Marvin set up.

A receptive crowd welcomed the entirety of 12 cents for Marvin,

which played a mix of its own material with a smattering of songs

from the ’80s.

This year marked the 15th anniversary of brewfest. Since its

inception, the event has gone under radical transformations to

become the event that it is now.

“I’ve been attending Brewfest since number two. It’s progressed

to become one of the best events in Fort Collins,” said Stacy

Thomas, the volunteer manager for the brewfest.

The event began in what was once a barren stretch of tarmac on

west LaPorte Avenue where the downtown parking structure now

stands, Thomas said.

“(The second brewfest) was just a black tarmac that was fenced

in; you could not leave. You would just drink and sit on the

tarmac,” said Thomas, who described the early events as “very

small, with no vendors except maybe a hot dog stand; there were10

to 15 breweries that were there.”

Since then the event has grown significantly. Thomas said that

this year’s event was at least 20 times the size of the second

brewfest.

The hot sun did not keep people away this year as Peggy Lyle,

the event coordinator, estimated that 30,000 to 40,000 people

attended the event.

“We represent 38 different breweries,” Lyle said. She said they

tapped about 360 kegs over the weekend. Fort Collins brewers were

allowed to bring two different brews while other Colorado brewers

where allowed to bring only one type.

“The thing about our festival is that it’s all Colorado brews,”

Lyle said.

She said keeping the event open only to Colorado breweries was

in keeping with the original spirit, as “it gave people an

opportunity to find out what the microbrew situation in Colorado

was.”

Lyle works for the Downtown Business Association, the nonprofit

group that organized brewfest.

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