By Jennifer Pund
Held each year on the same day clocks “fall back” when Daylight Savings ends, the Fall Back Beer Festival is not only a celebration of beer, but also the people who make it. Returning for it’s third year, Oct. 31 from noon-4 p.m. at the Estes Park Events Complex, the festival celebrates it’s first Halloween with seminars from beer experts, Halloween candy and beer pairings, demonstrations, local hop farms, and more.
“What better way to spend your extra hour than at a craft beer festival in the Rocky Mountains in beautiful Estes Park,” Event Coordinator Graham Kopp said. “Usually we ‘fall back’ with in the first week of November, except every six years, like this year, when [it] ends… in October.”
This year, guests are encouraged to wear costumes and bring the kids to trick or treat at the booths. When the festival ends at 4 p.m., families can head downtown using the free shuttles for the town’s annual Halloween Celebration. The shuttle will also stop at Bond Park, the Visitor Center and back to the Events Complex.
The Fall Back Beer Festival officially opens at noon for general admission tickets, which are $30 pre-sale or $35 at the gate and include an event tasting glass and unlimited tastings. VIP tickets are $55 pre-sale or $65 at the gate and feature an 11 a.m. entry, official event tasting glass, official event T-shirt, VIP pretzel necklace and unlimited tastings.
Familiar breweries like Big Thompson, Boulder Beer, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Great Divide, Horse & Dragon, Oskar Blues and Very Nice Brewing Companies join new breweries like Lumpy Ridge and Rock Cut which will be attending for the first time. Also new this year is the addition of Food Truck Alley featuring some of Colorado’s best food trucks like Bottle Cap BBQ and Umami Mobile Eatery.
This year, organizers have worked to pair Halloween candies with craft beer. Stop by any brewery tent to try a combination. Make your way through a “hedge” maze, “if you dare.” There will be beer booths and candy along the way to help if you get lost. Oskar Blues will also have its famous silent disco to show off everyone’s best dance moves. Feisty Spirits of Fort Collins will release special collaborative brews and vendors will showcase a variety of items. Also, the Rocky Mountain Soda Company will be on hand for the under-age and non-beer drinkers.
“Between Estes Park in the fall, the National Park during it’s 100th Anniversary, award-winning craft breweries… award-winning food trucks… and award-winning bluegrass music, it’s tough to decide what I am most excited about,” Kopp said.
Music on the Twin Owls main stage will be provided by bluegrass band The Rapidgrass Quintet, winners of the 2015 Rockygrass band competition.
The Estes Park Events Complex is located at 1125 Rooftop Way in Estes Park. Find information, directions and tickets as well as brewery, sponsor, vendor and food truck lists at www.fallbackbeerfest.com.
Originally published in the October 2015 issue of the MMAC Monthly