Despite football season being underway, the days getting noticeably shorter, and the nights chillier, I simply refuse to admit summer is already over. If you’re like me and looking to hold onto every last shred of warm weather: here’s where to grab a brew and some bites and relive those carefree days under the sun.
Bourbon Boxcar Journey (Denver, September 12-13)
A free, invite-only curated cocktail event, this special bourbon tasting will have you sampling four of the finest American-made liquors. Bartenders will be on hand to create customized drinks based on your palates, and you’ll also get the chance to sample authentic Kentucky barbecue. Guests must be 21+ to attend and RSVP at www.bourbonboxcar.com at least 24 hours in advance.
A Taste of Colorado (Denver, Labor Day Weekend)
Now in its 35th iteration, A Taste of Colorado is one of Denver’s most-anticipated free events. With over 60 of the area’s best restaurants, food trucks, and concerts galore, it’s a way to end the summer festival season with a bang. Or as I like to call it, eating your face off while listening to throwback bands like Sugar Ray and Smash Mouth. Spread over four days, there are amusements and rides, five music stages, and culinary demos. And don’t worry there’s plenty of craft beers, wine and cocktails to wash it down.
Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) (Labor Day Weekend)
With plenty more genres than just jazz, JAS has evolved into one of Colorado’s favorite musical throw downs and an epic excuse to head to glitzy Aspen pre-ski season. Headlining this year’s event is Zac Brown Brown, Fitz & the Tantrums, and Jack Johnson.
Oktoberfest (Keystone, Vail, Breckenridge, Denver, and just about everywhere, mid-September)
Despite being called Oktoberfest, most towns observe this favorite German fall festival in mid-September. You can find a celebration in almost every corner of the state from the mountain towns of Vail, Keystone and Breck to downtown Denver. Maxim and USA Today called the Mile High’s gathering the best Oktoberfest in the U.S. You don’t want to miss the stein hoisting competition, wiener dog races (aka the long dog derby), keg bowling, and bratwurst eating contest. I’ll prost to that.
Crested Butte Chili & Beer Festival (mid-September)
Besides football, nothing says fall like chili and beer, and in Crested Butte, you can warm up your belly with both. A competition for professional and amateur chefs, enjoy unlimited tastings of the best stews and brews in the Gunnison Valley.
Breckenridge Wine Classic (mid-September)
Raise your glasses and wine down with a variety of epicurean events in Breckenridge this fall. There are pop up seminars, pairing dinners, live music, and even wine hikes and wine bikes for the athletically inclined. More than 100 artisan vendors, wineries and breweries are participating in this year’s extravaganza so you’ll surely find something to tickle your taste buds.
Denver Food & Wine Festival (mid-September)
A multi-day foodie extravaganza, the Denver Food & Wine Festival celebrates the Mile High’s progressive culinary scene in all its glory. There are a number of events throughout the weekend from the Grand Tasting to unique gatherings like the Rise + Dine brunch festival and the Culinary Cinema Series, which pairs dinners complimentary with film screenings.
Telluride Blues and Brews (mid-September)
The quintessential outdoor music festival, Blues and Brews is an excuse to paint the town red. When B.B. King performed, he remarked, “It’s not the altitude that’ll take your breath away. It’s the views,” and we couldn’t agree more with the epic Telluride location. Pack your tent and sleeping bag because the whole city turns into a parking lot party meets campground.
Westword Feast (Denver, end of September)
Formerly Westword Dish, the outdoor summer food fest has been moved indoors and pushed a bit later in the season so as not to compete with their other summer shindig, Tacolandia. Unlimited food and drink samples are available from 40+ ethnic and American favorites from Biju’s Little Curry Shop to Little Man Ice Cream.
Great American Beer Festival (Denver, early October)
The mack daddy of Denver festivals, the Great American Beer Festival is the largest brewery event in America and should be on every Colorado bucket list. Several thousand beers from nearly 800 breweries are organized by region at the convention to end all conventions. Those who were able to get tickets (they sell out in seconds) should could their blessings because it is about as close to heaven as you can get.
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