The 21st annual Colorado Brewer’s Festival was last weekend, and I must admit that I was a bit nervous about this year’s new format. Apparently the Old Town Fort Collins merchants had grown tired of the wildly successful and crowed CBF. Rowdy and intoxicated attendees were causing problems and, surprisingly, their business was down over CBF weekend. The merchants claimed attendees were not patronizing their stores and were scaring off other would-be shoppers. So this year the event was moved a couple blocks from Old Town across College to Civic Center Park. There were also other changes. Instead of an entry fee and individual drink tokens,
there was a single ticket charge, which allowed the attendee to drink as many 4-ounce samples as he or she desired. There were two sessions on Saturday, noon to 3 pm and 3pm to 6pm, and one four hour session on Sunday starting at noon. And ticket sales were limited to keep the crowd down. The group I was with attended the Saturday noon session. I must admit that I was not ready to move on after 3 pm. People with the early session tickets were allowed to stay in the Civic Center Park area, but could not longer sample beers at the brewery booths.
With all of that said, the new format was better than I had feared. Laporte Avenue and Howes Street are lined with mature trees and
provided a nice atmosphere. I still prefer Old Town, but it was better than expected. And the crowd was noticeably smaller than in the past. Lines at the brewery sample stations were almost non-existent which was very nice. There were still bands playing during the event, but a bit out of the way. Not quite as nice as the central band location by the pond in Old Town. Still the event offered 58 beers from 32 breweries (basically the same as last year) and a nice atmosphere to sample many of Colorado’s finest offerings. If the event moves back to Old Town, I would be fine with that, but we’ll be back next year regardless. Whether or not you would like the new format probably depends on if you like festivals with big, rowdy crows or a quieter setting with no lines.
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