Chili, brews spice up festival |

Chili, brews spice up festival

Joel Stonington
Shelby Lee/The Aspen Times

Music, chili and brewskis all sound like fun and games, but some people came to the Chili Pepper and Brew Festival for the glory.Some people think the Chili Fest at Snowmass Village is purely a mode for seeing how many glasses of fine malted beverage they can imbibe before 7, when hops in the liquid form begin costing buckaroos.The big money, though, is in the form of winnings at the chili contest – up to a grand, in fact. So over at the judges tent, things were a little more serious.The judges’ instructions for the red chili were to score points for aroma, flavor, color, chili pepper taste, texture of meat and consistency. A few judges, however, may have focused a bit too much on a yummy hefeweizen or perhaps a delicious stout during the explanation of how they should judge. The leader of the judges, Mark Pickering of Littleton, had to tell them to quiet down immediately, because this is important.”Sorry to get a little testy there,” he said, “but it is serious business to them.”To whom? You might ask.Well, take Bonnie and Steve Tomasek of Castle Rock. They had all sorts of pointers for what it takes to be a good judge.”It’s supposed to be a good blend,” said Bonnie, who was fifth in the world at creating chili last year. “Not one thing should stand out, it’s a blend.”

The Tomaseks said they like coming to Snowmass for the festival because everyone loves chili.

“These people really appreciate chili,” Steve said. “The crowd was voracious for green chili.”So the judges raised their right hands and repeated after Pickering. “I, state your name,” he said, “… for its gustatory pleasure … the joy it gives my taste buds, the thrill it gives my tonsils, if I still have them.”And all this excitement even before Medeski, Martin and Wood got on stage.So the evening ended up nicely, some people dancing, many delighting over chili, and much, much microbrew consuming.”Oh yeah,” said Samantha Haberman, an Aspen native, “I’m having the time of my life.”

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