24 brewers make this year's Brewfest largest yet

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Steamboat Mountain Brewfest is the last big party before ski season begins.

"It's always been a huge social event for locals," organizer Jolene Esswein said. "And I've watched it grow into a bonafide brewers' event." Esswein was surprised to get unsolicited calls from brewers as far away as California who wanted to be involved.

Stone Brewing Co. from California joined the brewery lineup this year as it tries to increase its presence in Colorado.

This year's Brewfest will be the largest with 24 brewers, compared with 21 serving last year.

Organizers instructed brewers to double their beer supplies to avoid the misfortune of two years ago, when taps ran dry within the first couple of hours.

"That was unfortunate. The beer ran out early, and it was a really hot day," Esswein said. "But we have 24 breweries bringing three, four and five kegs each. I don't think we'll run out."

Other new breweries joining the lineup this year are Kaltenberg Castle Brewery from Vail, Smugglers Brewery from Telluride and Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. from Colorado Springs.

Mahogany Ridge will represent Steamboat.

This is the thirteenth year for the event that started as a small event in Ski Time Square with no more than four or five breweries.

"There was no gate," Esswein said. "Brewfest was mixed in with the rest of the Fall Foliage Festival."

As the popularity of the event and the number of brewers grew, the Brewfest was cordoned off and eventually moved to its current home south of Torian Plum Plaza.

The Fall Foliage Festival takes place in Gondola Square, providing a family-friendly atmosphere away from the social, Brewfest bacchanal.

The Mountain Business Assoc-iation, which organizes the Brewfest, started the Fall Foliage Festival 13 years ago but handed it over to the chamber after the first year. Because of time constraints on the part of the chamber, the festival is back in the hands of the MBA.

The Fall Foliage Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes an arts and crafts fair, sidewalk sale and kids corral with The Umpa Band.

-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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