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Beer and bluegrass planned for Aspen Highlands Saturday

Aspen Times Staff Report

More than 20 Colorado microbreweries will offer samples of their specialty beers when Aspen Highlands hosts its first Microbrew Festival on Saturday.The “grand tasting” of cold, frothy ones will take place from noon to 4 p.m. at the Highlands plaza. Admission for the event is $20 and includes the purchase of a souvenir sampling glass.Hit and Run Bluegrass, the Boulder-based band that won the Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition just last month, will perform after the tasting, and the cult comedy classic “Strange Brew” will flicker on the Highlands outdoor movie screen at sundown.”Aspen Highlands has always embraced a maverick spirit,” said Kevin Wardell of Highpoint Brewery. “We thought Highlands was the perfect venue for a brewfest, and our brewers were all excited to be displaying their products for new audiences.”Patterned on the grand tastings offered during the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, visitors to the Brewfest may take their glass from vendor to vendor, sampling the wide variety of flavor, body and other characteristics that microbrews have to offer.”These days, microbeers have as many enthusiastic devotees as wine,” according to Wardell. “The small brewers make beer that has as many flavor complexities as wine. This is not the kind of beer you guzzle.”The Brewfest will feature various Colorado microbreweries, including: Bristol, Il Vicino and Phantom Canyon from Colorado Springs; Avery, Redfish and Redstone Meadery from Boulder; as well as beers from Breckenridge, Denver, Dillon, Durango, Eagle, Fort Collins, Longmont, Lyons, Telluride and Vail. Local breweries Bonedale, from Carbondale, and Glenwood Canyon, from Glenwood Springs, will also be on hand. A cheese and beer pairing demonstration will also be offered during the event.Hit and Run Blugrass, a new quintet of bluegrass musicians who have been accumulating accolades, will take the the lawn outside Iguana’s after the grand tasting. The band, whose members met at other jams and festivals in Colorado, offer original tunes and their interpretations of bluegrass classics inspired by the contemporary bluegrass style of groups like Alison Krause and Union Station and the Lonesome River Band.Capping off the day’s activities is the free outdoor screening of “Strange Brew,” starring Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas as Bob and Doug McKenzie. The film follows the two Canadian beer lovers and their knuckle-headed lives, spinning off from their appearances on Canada’s sketch comedy show SCTV. The Apollo Guide says “Strange Brew” gives your gut a good 90-minute workout. “Mass consumption of beer, harmless Canuck humour and classic one-liners combine to make this film a guilty pleasure,” the Guide notes.Attendees at the Microbrew Festival are encouraged to take the free bus that serves Highlands from Rubey Park in downtown Aspen. Buses that make stops at Highlands leave Rubey Park five times an hour.


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