Don your dirndls and lederhosen – it’s time for 9th annual Steamboat Springs OktoberWest | SteamboatToday.com

Don your dirndls and lederhosen – it’s time for 9th annual Steamboat Springs OktoberWest

This weekend the ninth annual OktoberWest will commence on Friday with the beer stroll and Saturday with the beer garden and beef cook-off.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Worried about squeezing into a dirndl or pair of skin-tight lederhosens without looking ridiculous?

Don't worry, you’ll fit in perfectly this weekend during OktoberWest, which arrives in Steamboat in September.

The ninth annual Steamboat OktoberWest kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday with the Beer Stroll, that meanders through more than 20 downtown restaurants, each offering a specialty beer on tap to prep the taste buds for Saturday’s festivities. Check-in for the Beer Stroll will be from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at the Chief Theater.

On Saturday, the popular beef cook-off and beer garden will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. in Gondola Square along Burgess Creek featuring live music from Afrolicious.

Adding another flavor of Colorado, the I Love Beef Cook-Off will give nine local restaurants the same cut of beef brisket and chefs will concoct an original, signature dish. Each competitor will vie for best dish honors as patrons cast votes for their favorite.

At the beer garden, local brewers and those from the Rocky Mountain region will pour over 90 variations and styles of beer from 46 tasting booths with craft brews, whiskey cider and more.

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But with so much beer in one place, “beer aficionados” have offered their advice on how to get the most out of this year's OktoberWest. 

Crazy Mountain Brewing Co.

Locations: Edwards and the Santa Fe Arts District of Denver

What to try:

  • Lava Lake Wit
  • Mountain Livin’ Pale Ale
  • Hookiebobb IPA
  • Lawyers, Guns & Money Barleywine
  • Local’s Stash Colorado Chocolate Cherry Imperial Stout

Word to the wise on tasting:

  • "Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint," said Andy Nottingham, marketing coordinator for Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. "Always start off with lighter styles — it’s always best to keep the beers on a similar taste palate throughout the festival, so I always suggest going from lighter to darker and hoppier styles. Plus, lighter brews tend to be lower on the ABV scale, and it’s better to ease into the bigger beers, both in terms of alcohol and flavor."
  • Be sure to drink plenty of water, especially if it’s hot out.
  • "When food sampling is offered, as it is with Oktoberwest, be sure to alternate to make sure you’re not drinking on an empty stomach," Nottingham said. "Plus you may find your next favorite food and beer pairing."

Specialties:

  • The Local's Stash series
  • Chocolate Cherry Imperial Stout (made 100 percent from Colorado-based ingredients
  • Factoid: Each week Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. releases a new beer in this series, allowing brewers to get creative and think outside the box

"Each unique beer style presents different aromas and flavors," said Nottingham. "From mouthfeel to carbonation, each beer is brewed with a meticulous science to the process. The hop variety and malt decide the color hue, flavor, and aroma. Whether your looking for decadence in a bold stout, a bitter punch packed into a double IPA, or a sessional sweetness from a beer like our Lava Lake Wit."

The Bakers Brewery

Location: Silverthorne

What to try:

  • Barking Dog Brown – notably light and dry for a darker beer
  • French Silk Stout – creamy and smooth with loads of chocolate malt and notes of Sumatra Coffee beans from Elevation Roasters in Denver
  • Cotton Mouth Killer – a light and crisp introduction to the classic American hop character but without leaving you with that bitter beer face.
  • Spring Bloom Saison – “dry-hopped: with hibiscus, rosebuds and pink peppercorns for a very floral aroma and a light, lemony hop balance.

"We like to say ‘smells like flowers and tastes like sunshine,'” said Corey Forster, co-owner and brewmaster at the Bakers’ Brewery.

Factoid: Did you know pink peppercorns are related to cashews? They are and can be sampled in the Spring Bloom Saison but don't try it if allergic to nuts.

How to taste like a Cicerone:

  • Start by smelling your beverage — "I learned in my fine dining days to start by smelling your beverage, as aroma and taste share the same region in your head and affect each other greatly," Forster said.
  • Take a sip, mull it around a bit — "Then a small sip to start should be rolled lightly around the tongue and mouth, to feel the fizz and the body of the brew,” he said. “Try to gently exhale a little bit through your nose after you swallow, as this brings the aroma past the inner, most sensitive parts at the back of your sinuses."
  • Taste every flavor in the rainbow — "The wonderful thing about beer is that there are no limits, so every flavor in the rainbow has pretty much been toyed with amongst us brewers," said Forster. "Look for things that sound good to you, because we all have very different and personal favorite flavors and combinations there of."

Colorado Cider Co.

Location: Denver

What to try:

  • Pearsnickety Perry
  • Radl'ah Session Cider

Tastes to be on the lookout for:

"With the Pearsnickety, you'll be able to taste the crisp pear (made with all Colorado Bartlett pears) with a dry finish," said Kathie Page, co-owner of Colorado Cider Co. "With the Radl'ah, look for its refreshing citrus accents in the taste."

Specialty:

"We were the first production cidery in the state and have been pioneers in the cider industry by using all fresh pressed juice and innovating botanical accented ciders," said Paige.

Factoid: Colorado Cider Co. has been developing Colorado grown cider apples since 2012. In 2017, they released Block One, a cider made from the first harvest of their orchard.

Steamboat Whiskey Co.

The local craft distillery, created by Nathan and Jessica Newhal, is set to open this fall in downtown at 55 11th St.

What to try:

• Ski Town Mule, a moscow mule made with the distillery’s flagship product, Ski Town Vodka. 

Factoid: Jessica Newhal said Steamboat Whiskey Co. follows traditional distilling practices while embracing new trends and experimenting with small batch recipes.

Specialty:

Initial product line includes vodka, gin, blended whiskey and moonshine.

Over the next few years, Steamboat Whiskey Co. will focus on producing a portfolio of whiskies, bourbons, and specialty spirits like Natures Nectar, its 100 percent Honey Spirit.

"We are Northwest Colorado’s first craft whiskey distillery," Newhall said. "We aim to showcase the agriculture and artisanal talent of the Western Slope.”

Tickets: 

The Friday Night Beer Stroll tickets include a mug and two tastings at participating restaurants and are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for the I Love Beef Cook Off and the beer garden. Beef tasting is $21 online and $25 at the door, and entrance to the beer garden is $30 online and $35 at the door. Tickets for both the beef contest and beer garden are $48 online and $53 at the door.

Full weekend tickets, which include the Friday Night Beer Stroll, Saturday I Love Beef Cook-Off and Beer Garden, are $65 online and $74 at the door.

To purchase tickets or for more information on the events, visit https://steamboatoktoberwest.com.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@steamboattoday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

If you go:

What: Friday night beer stroll

When: 4 to 8 p.m., Friday Sept. 15

Where: Downtown Steamboat Springs

What: Beef Cook-Off and beer garden

When: 2 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16

Where: Steamboat Mountain Village/Gondola Square

More information: steamboatoktoberwest.com

Local brewers on tap:

Butcherknife Brewing Co.

Mountain Tap

Steamboat Whiskey Co.

Storm Peak Brewing

Yampa Valley Brewing

Restaurants in the cook-off:

Bear River Bar and Grill

Cafe Diva

Casey’s Pond

Cugino’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant

The Laundry

McKnight’s Irish Pub & Loft

O’Neil’s

Salt & Lime

Steamboat Smokehouse

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