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Suds on the slopes – Breckenridge is the place for a one-of-a-kind experience

Less conventional than the average convention venue


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Hotel ballrooms are, by and large, stale, out-of-date and struggling to serve the purpose of encasing a truly memorable occasion, corporate or otherwise.

When you dream of putting on an event, floating head lecturers, burnt coffee and bad carpets, are, at best, predictable.

So where, then, should a 1,750-person specialty beer festival be expected to host its very own shindig?

You guessed it ... a hotel conference center. 

But before you go dismissing such a proposal as utterly preposterous, picture this:

What if the backdrop for this gathering was the wondrous Colorado Rocky Mountains?

And better yet, what if the hotel in question could morph to the precise needs and desires of the party – turning on a dime to deliver a wow-worthy experience beyond the conventional?

For these reasons and more, the Big Beers Belgians & Barleywine festival landed at Beaver Run Resort this January, as its ideal venue for an entire weekend of beer tasting and education. 

Here was the thought process:

Location (x3)

As Colorado has earned its seat as one of the top American destinations for craft beer fans and one of the top beer-producing states in the nation per capita, it makes sense that the Big Beers festival and other similar events take place in the Centennial State.

Picking the prime geographic coordinates for a beer festival is crucial, and not easy. The Big Beers Festival attendees and participants are accustomed to a slope-side events host, and planners took the time to find the resort with the most "winter playground" potential.

Among Colorado mountain towns, Breckenridge welcomes a wide variety of people. The long-ago mining town isn't so upscale that noses tilt toward the tallest chair lift in North America – the Imperial Express Super Chair – but its not too crunchy or off-the-grid that you can't enjoy a night out on the town. 

Then operationally, you have to make sure the venue is large enough to hold the number of guests and brewery participants you expect. The team at Beaver Run takes the time to understand the vision for each event, and knows exactly how to utilize their space and resources to bring that vision to life. 

Sleep, Work, Play, Repeat

Beaver Run is just a five-minute walk from downtown Breck, with its picturesque National Historic District, and is less than a stone's throw away from the ski lifts at the base of Peak 9. Combining a mountain chic style with a relaxing, inclusive atmosphere that appeals to the beer lover, the resort's work hard; play harder mantra fits the typical brewer's mentality to a T.

More than Merely Booze

Event logistics require a flexible pro to ensure everything goes off without a hitch. The Beaver Run team provides a professional and experienced staff to work with the event planner and guarantee a smooth event. 

Breweries – from Colorado and beyond – bring with them a strong and loyal following. But it's more than just booze they're after – it's a full-fledged experience, with food, fun, a quaint mountain town, and majestic outdoor splendor to accompany the beverages. 

The educational component of the Big Beers festival weekend attracts as much attention as the showcased Commercial Tasting, and includes the Cicerone Workshop, a cigar pairing experience, beer infused yoga classes, an experimental brewing seminar, and four educational program tracks to round out the whirlwind weekend.

In Breckenridge, there's no need to hire entertainment because festivalgoers can sample suds and then move on to the snow activities or other "off-campus" exploring.

To avoid drinking on an empty stomach, Beaver Run works with chefs and brewers, both visiting and in-house, to create the celebrity beer pairing dinners and smaller-scale pairings scattered throughout the schedule of events. 

There's nothing like meeting the renowned brewmasters and  brewery owners and then tasting the big, bold flavors of the Belgian and experimental beers they create.

An action-packed three-day weekend deserves a stellar spot to call home. Dig in and head to the Rocky Mountains of Breckenridge for next year's little Big Beers festival that the whole industry holds in such high regard.

Photo Credit: Foxhoven Studios

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Laura Lodge

Laura Lodge is owner/consultant for Customized Craft Beer Programs, author of "Distribution Insight for the Craft Brewer," event coordinator of Big Beers and executive director/president of the Big Beers Educational Foundation.

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