Beer does have its benefits. On a hot summer day it may cool the senses better than a glass of water. Or it may bring a community together for the 14th annual Harvest Beer Festival on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 4 to 9 p.m. at Parque de Vida. All proceeds from the festival will benefit the Montezuma Land Conservancy and its mission of land protection.
“We are planning on a great community event,” said Juniper Katz, MLC executive director. “There is music, food, a silent auction and of course beer tasting.”
Festival-goers can expect to sample hand-brewed beers from 11 microbreweries that are based in and around the region. The visiting breweries will have their own staff on hand to answer any questions about their brews from beer tasters.
“The brewers are thrilled when people ask about their beers,” Katz said. “They are all pretty educated in brewing and they each have their own spin on how they brew beer. There will be lots of different selections.”
The Main Street Brewery in Cortez, Dolores River Brewery and the Mancos Valley Distillery (which brews rum) will all be in attendance. Branden Miller is Main Street Brewery’s brewmaster and has been brewing beer since 2002. He has seen a positive change in customer interaction for local microbreweries.
“It used to be more of a tourist thing,” Miller said. “The Sam Adams and Blue Moon commercials have helped out. Locals are starting to come in and ask if I have anything like those. People like to try something different.”
Miller said he will be at the festival pouring the brewery’s favorite beers including Slow Pitch and their summer seasonal black lager. The Main Street Brewery brews eight of its own beers, six of which they bottle. They also brew two or three seasonal beers throughout the year.
Miller’s favorite is the Porter Ale.
“I usually get asked what malt I use or how much hops I put in,” Miller said. “It all depends on the differing styles.”
Miller is in good spirits about the festival. He thinks it is a great opportunity for locals to taste outside brews coming from places such as Moab or Alamosa. Other breweries attending the festival are Carver Brewing Co., Durango Brewing Co., Moab Brewery, Ska Brewing Co., Steamworks Brewing Co., 3 Rivers Brewing Co., Ouray Brewing Co. and San Luis Valley Brewing Co.
Katz is expecting more than 500 people to attend the festival. Live music will be provided by local musician Katya Chorover and Durango-based band Jack 10 High. The gates will open at 4 p.m. and the music will begin shortly after.
“This is a real social event,” Katz said. “It is (one of) the last outdoor event so it is very much for the community. There are some children activities too so it is a family event as well.”
Among the beer and music, visitors will also have a chance to bid on auction items that were donated by supporters in the community and include: gift certificates to local restaurants, outdoor clothing items, jewelry, framed and 3D art, wrought iron items and a Kokopelli bicycle. There are over 200 items being auctioned to benefit Montezuma Land Conservancy.
“We get a lot of support from local businesses to throw this event,” Katz said.
There will also be wine available for non-beer drinkers and other beverages for non-alcoholic drinkers and minors. Bubbles and face painting will occupy the children. Some seating will be provided but people are encouraged to bring their own outdoor chairs. Free transportation is available from Cortez to Mancos and Dolores for those not wanting to drive. For more information about the festival or transportation, visit harvestbeerfestival.com.