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San Juan Brewfest: So Much More Than Your Grandfather's Brewfest

San Juan Brewfest: So Much More Than Your Grandfather's Brewfest

San Juan Brewfest: three to four of our favorite words (depending on how you count them) combined into one of our favorite pastimes? Yes puleaze! The Four Corners' largest craft beer festival is back, and the 19th Annual San Juan Brewfest promises to be just as sudsy as ever with 50 breweries and over 100 different beers to satiate your end-of-summer hankerings.

Held every year on the Saturday before Labor Day in Buckley Park, this year's soiree welcomes anyone 21 years and over to celebrate one of the greatest perks of getting old. Get in the spirit of things at The Balcony on Friday, August 25, from 4:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. for a totally tubular Tap Takeover featuring Tart Mexican Logger from Ska, a Mango Gose from Marble Brewing and La Cumbre's Elevated IPA.

The following morning, eat a hearty breakfast to work off the calories during the Thirsty 13 (see below) as you prepare for a fun-filled, sun-soaked afternoon. While live music lilts and cold beer pours, legal-aged imbibers will enjoy hanging out with friends -- sans wrangling children and navigating dogs. Not that there's anything wrong with those creatures, but the San Juan Brewfest is a pet- and child-free zone.

If you do have kids and need a place to dump them so you can get your drank on, reserve childcare through Nifty Nanny and their special event offer by clicking here. For other helpful tidbits on how to get the most out of your festival experience, read on:

The Big Picture:

The San Juan Brewfest takes place on Saturday, August 26, from 1:00 p.m. till 5:00 p.m. The event is coordinated by the Business Improvement District, and all proceeds go to United Way of Southwest Colorado. Fifty breweries from across the Southwest each bring at least two beers for folks to sample in their 5 oz. glass included in ticket prices. This event is for fully grown humans. No kids. No pets. Period.  

Ticket Options:

The San Juan Brewfest has SOLD OUT for the past three years! Don't get left out in the cold. Make your choice from the options below and click here to purchase tickets. Print out the ticket for entry, or upload it to your phone for scanning at the gate. Bring your photo ID for verification. If you don't want to deal with the 1:00 p.m. lines when the event opens, check in between 10:00 a.m. and noon and enter the event through the Re-Entry Gate.

  •        General Admission - $30 includes a 5 oz. souvenir tasting glass and unlimited tastings from the breweries and distilleries participating in this year's event.
  •        Upgraded General Admission - $45 includes the 5 oz. tasting glass, unlimited tastings, event t-shirt and access to the event 30-minutes before it officially opens (12:30 p.m.).
  •        VIP - $70 includes the cute little glass, unlimited tastings, event t-shirt, access to the event 1-hour before it opens (noon) AND an invite to the exclusive VIP and Brewer's Party on Friday evening (details below). VIP's also partake of a beer-pairing experience in the VIP tent during the Brewfest (details below).
  •        NEW THIS YEAR: Designated Driver - $15 includes complimentary "mocktails" throughout the event courtesy of Four Corners Broadcasting, Alpine Bank and Seasons, El Moro, Eolus, Serious Texas BBQ and Swing.
  •        NEW THIS YEAR: VIP Designated Driver - $50 includes noon admission with the other VIP-ers, event t-shirt, access to the VIP Tent during Brewfest and an invite to the VIP and Brewer's Party the night before (details below).

So You Think You're Pretty Special Cuz You're a VIP?

Well, you totally are. Here's what you get:

  •        VIP and Brewer's Party - Friday, August 25, 6 p.m. till 8 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Besides beer from Odell's, Steamworks and Ska Brewing, savor heavy appetizers, like bruschetta, arancini and pasilla marinara, pecorino and other fancy, Italian-sounding finger foods.
  •        VIP Tent - Saturday, August 26, noon till 5:00 p.m. (during the Brewfest, at Buckley Park). Award-winning local breweries, Carver Brewing, Steamworks and Ska, have carefully paired three tasty dishes to complement their delicious beers. Teaser: Chef Dave Kuntz of Carver Brewing whips up a seasonally-apt Olathe corn chowder with a mini beer-braised pulled pork taco sauced in avocado, salsa verde and roasted Palisade peach jalapeno salad, sipped down with Ska's newly-released Tart Mexican Logger.

What if it rains?

Alright, Debbie Downer, Honey Badger don't care! The Brewfest pours on, rain or shine. No refunds, so come prepared for the elements.

Groovy Tunes:

Fans of Farmington Hill, rejoice! The Brewfest's opening band is country-fried indie rock from Durango, and they're back to knock your socks off while you hold your beer aloft. Front Range-based Dragondeer takes the stage as Brewfest's headliner band. Their psych-blues appeals to roots circles and indie clubs across Colorado. Widely acclaimed to be "perfect beer-drinking music."

Don't be That Guy:

Yes, there's a lot of beer at the Brewfest. That doesn't mean you have to drink ALL of it. Know your limits, sip responsibly and play nice. You will be asked to leave should trouble start a'brewin' due to your sloppiness. As well, please make a transportation plan before things get out of control. Here are some options:

  •        The City of Durango's Main Avenue Trolley: Hallelujah, the Brewfest paid the City to make buses free the entire day of the Brewfest. This conspicuous red trolley runs the length of Main Ave from the Iron Horse Inn to the Transit Center Downtown with multiple stops. Operation hours are 7:00 a.m. till 10:00 p.m. with stops/pickups every 20 minutes.
  •        Buckhorn Limousine: Reservation required. Call 970.769.0933.
  •        Durango Cab: Call 970.259.4818.
  •        UBER: Download the app, setup an account and get a ride.
  •        Animas Transportation: Reservation required. Call 970.259.1315.

All About the Kids:

Need we say it again? No one under 21 is allowed at the Brewfest. Discounted childcare is available just next door to the event site at the Smiley Building where our friends at Nifty Nanny await with all sorts of fun and adventure. Check out this link and click on Special Event Care to find the Brewfest page. Nifty Nanny accepts 15 total kids max, so make reservations ASAP. Ages 5 to 12 can be dropped off at Room 201 between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and must be picked up no later than 5:30 p.m. Leave the young ones with a water bottle and some snacks, and trust they're in good hands. Cost: $25/advance, $40/day of. Call 970.403.4931 for questions, or contact through the website, NiftyNanny.net/contact.

But I Hate Running:  

Then don't worry. This wildly-popular half marathon is sold out, but a waitlist is available for the Thirsty 13. This point-to-point course starts at the Hesperus Church and ends at Ska Brewing. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 26, and registration can include a discounted ticket to the Brewfest. This mostly downhill course drops 1,400-feet in elevation and is filled with lake, pine and mountains views the entire way. Because this is Durango and nothing comes without a price, there is a 3/4-mile climb in the middle of the course, and a dramatic finish up Ska Hill. Cheers to your effort!  

Note to Self:

Backpacks, purses or bags stuffed with festival essentials, like sunscreen, jacket, water bottle and personal items are totally permissible. Alcohol from outside is not. There's plenty here so fret not. Smoking is not allowed in Buckley Park, but you can smoke on Main Ave. Toss butts in the trash can, please.

Volunteer for Beer!

Volunteers are needed Friday, August 25, Saturday, August 26, and Sunday, August 27. All volunteers receive a free entry to the event either before or after their shifts. Click here for a list of volunteer opportunities and to sign up for a shift. Or email Tim at timw@downtowndurango.org.

Let There Be Food:

Vendors for this year's event include Mariana's Authentic Cuisine, Gosar Sausage, the Rotary Club of Durango, Mountain Stir Fry and Alaskan Reindeer Red Hots. What are Red Hots, you wonder? Not those cheap Hot Tamale knock-off candies but rather a company that offers reindeer polish sausages, buffalo bratwurst, jalapeno & cheese reindeer polish sausage, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and all beef hotdogs. Prevent your hangover: eat a red hot today!  

You Know It's An Adult-Only Event When...

You can register to win a $15,000 window makeover and might get excited about a free window replacement consultation! Renewal by Andersen will be taking entries for the window makeover sweepstakes and offering consultations at the Brewfest. Winter is coming... Are your windows ready?!  

Can't Stop, Won't Stop:

The Brewfest just announced that Lady Falconburgh's will host the San Juan Brewfest After Party, which is appropriate considering this downtown staple has 38 beers on tap. The party starts at 4:00 p.m. and ends later, so enjoy $4 pints all night long. Cheers!

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