Calling all Colorado beer lovers: this year’s All Colorado Beer Festival will be bigger and tastier than ever!

The 9th Annual All Colorado Beer Festival (ACBF) will host about 3,200 suds-loving guests for two tasting sessions on November 7 at the Mortgage Solutions Financial Expo Center, 3650 N. Nevada Avenue. Guests will have access to more than 200 Colorado beers from 72 of the state’s top brewers. Tickets can be purchased at allcoloradobeerfestival.com.

Still not convinced?

All proceeds from the event will be donated to local nonprofits, including THEATREWORKS, The Home Front Cares and the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs Scholarship Fund. Over $70,000 was donated after the 2014 festival, and the ACBF team hopes to donate at least $85,000 this year. Since the festival began in 2007, $245,000 has been donated to Pikes Peak region nonprofits.

The Gazette recently sat down with Assistant Festival Director Randy Dipner, for a sneak peek at this year’s festival:

This is the 9th year of the festival – how has it grown since 2007?

The first year we scrounged to get 20 brewers to participate. We had no money to get started and a donation from Blue Moon allowed us to buy the insurance we needed to run the event. Various folks close to the event had bets on how many people would come. The high bet was 250 – we ended up hosting almost 1,000 people.

Carol Hiller, a professional event planner and manager of the Great American Beer Festival, helped us that first year. As we stood watching folks come in she said: “Congratulations, you’ve given birth to a festival!”

What new experiences can attendees look forward to this year?

We will host at least a dozen brand-new brewers at this year’s festival, including BRU Handbuilt Ales, Colorado Plus, Declaration Brewing Co., Gemini Beer Company, Launch Pad Brewery, Peaks N Pines Brewing Company, Renegade Brewing Company, Stem Ciders, Storybook Brewing, The Bakers’ Brewery, Triple S Brewing Company, Tivoli Brewing Co., Vail Brewing Co., and WeldWerks Brewing.

This year we’ll feature a live demonstration brewing a fresh batch of beer. Those who purchase a Brewer Insider ticket will have VIP access to the Brewer’s Lounge, complete with delicious eats, cold beer and a chance to talk shop face-to-face with local brewers. And don’t worry, we’re bringing back old favorites like The Silent Disco by Oskar Blues. It’s pretty entertaining – guests wear circumaural headphones and dance around to music only they can hear.

What kind of awards will you be giving out to this year’s brews?

We will be judging brews in 15 categories this year – up from 12 last year. Categories will include Spice, Herb and Vegetable Beer and Bock, Scottish and Irish Ales. We might give out up to 45 category medals, plus the Best of Show after this year’s festival.

We always have a few surprise winners and with 14 new brewers this year, it’s almost a certainty. The ACBF team will also present a Champion Award to an organization that has been important to the success of the festival and the Colorado brewing industry.

How many volunteers does it take to pull off the festival?

We have 11 folks on our planning committee, and they meet year round planning the event. We also have about six captains and nine assistant captains and we recruit about 200 volunteers to pour beer, judge brews, greet guests, work the merchandise booth, empty swill buckets, fetch water and much more. It is a real team environment and many of the folks have been with us for all nine years of the festival.

Pikes Peak Newspapers, Editor

Hannah Blick has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years. She studied journalism at Kansas State University and enjoys biking, skiing and hiking in the Rockies.

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