Coloradans love beer. The renowned Great American Beer Festival already sold out two of its three days (and the Sept. 20 tickets are going fast). Fret not—there are plenty of brewtastic September alternatives across the Centennial State:
Brews & Views Beer Fest
2 to 5 p.m.
Not interested in camping for Labor weekend? Are you a self-professed beer snob? The Hudson Gardens’ Brews & Views Beer Fest allows unlimited samples with the purchase of a $25 entrance ticket. With more than 35 Colorado institutions, like Breckenridge Brewery and Strange Craft, showcasing their newest beers, you have no shortage of options. The event requires a minimum age of 21+ so leave the kids with a sitter! Local vendors and food trucks will provide other amenities.
Bike Parade: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Music Festival 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The legendary bicycle, beer, and music extravaganza returns for its 19th season. Arrive at New Belgium’s Brewery on Linden Street to experience the beautiful chaos of the three-hour bike parade. Expect plenty of outrageous costumes. Once the parade concludes, the party begins at 2 p.m. Beer, food trucks, and a dance contest will keep you occupied before you enjoy a performance by musical headliner Phosphorescent. General admission tickets cost $15, making for an economical way to kick off Labor Day Weekend.
1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
This renowned festival returns during Boulder’s Hometown Festival. With free admission to the festival grounds, your family will find plenty of lawn games, live music, acclaimed food vendors—and beer, of course! Tickets range from $15 to $45, depending on when and which of the two tiers you choose. The “Wet Your Whistle” ticket allows you unlimited beer samples from all breweries and includes a souvenir cup.
2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Sept. 7) 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sept. 8) 11 a.m. to 5.p.m. (Sept. 9)
The legendary beer festival may not officially start until September 22 this year (according to the official Oktoberfest website), but that will not stop Breckenridge from starting the party 15 days early. The lovely mountain town lays claim to “the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the Rockies.” The festival boasts over 30 authentic German food and beer vendors, games like Hammerschlagan, and polka dancing. Make sure to buy an official Breckenridge Stein, half liters cost $32, while full liters cost $37. You can save a dollar per token by pre-purchasing them online for $5 as beer at the festival grounds costs $6.
2 to 7 p.m.
Located just 30 minutes outside Denver, this charming Boulder County town allows free admission to its annual beer festival. To enjoy a wide selection of beer from 26 breweries, including Avery Brewing Co., Ballast Point, Left Hand Brewing Co., and Loveland Aleworks, you must purchase tasting tokens. Brew Fest’s pricing is based on the notion that the more you buy, the more you save. Each 4-oz. pour costs $2 and nets you a free souvenir cup. The highest pre-pour package available is 21 tokens for $36, which saves you $6.
Sept. 21-23 & Sept. 28-30
11 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Friday-Saturday both weekends) 11 a.m. to 5.p.m (Sunday)
Celebrating its 49th year and attracting more than 350,000 people annually, this six-day Oktoberfest bash will turn the heart of downtown Denver into a full-blown party. For $185, a VIP package allows you three days of unlimited food and German craft beer. You also receive an official Denver Oktoberfest stein, T-shirt, and exclusive bathrooms.
1 to 5 p.m.
If you seek a quick weekend getaway and love beer, attend the Manitou Springs Heritage Brew Festival. A (traffic dependent) 90-minute drive southwest of Denver lands you in the resort town. More than 30 breweries will provide craft beers, including Boulder Beer Company, New Image, and the town’s own Manitou Brewing Company. All profits directly benefit Manitou Springs Heritage Center and the preservation of the town’s extraordinary history. With attendance limited to 1,000 guests, act quick. Priced at $32.50, tickets are currently on an early bird special, which allows entry one hour early at 12 p.m., a commemorative glass and a raffle ticket for a mysterious grand prize.