This weekend’s Winter Brew Fest benefits local music programs


By Steve Graham

How can you turn a beer into a drum for a preschooler? When that beer is sipped at the Winter Brew Fest this weekend.

The festival showcases more than 40 breweries from Colorado and beyond, and also includes food and live music. The event runs from 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 26 and 27, at Mile High Station, 2027 West Lower Colfax Ave. Proceeds benefit Swallow Hill Music, a local non-profit with a mission to “bring the joy of music to life every day.”

The organization hosts a variety of concerts and other music events, and offers music education for students of all ages. Brew Fest proceeds help fund new music classes for the youngest budding Mozarts, according to Barry Osborne, associate marketing director for Swallow Hill.

“Their financial support comes at a critical time for us as we expand our educational outreach efforts into area schools,” he said. “This support helps us get musical instruction to pre-school aged students who might not get it otherwise.” 

In turn, Swallow Hill helped find music for the event. Friday night features ATOMGA, a Denver-based Afrobeat band featuring Swallow Hill instructor Casey Hrdlicka on guitar. 

“They are one of the most exciting and dynamic live bands actively gigging along the Front Range right now,” Osborne said. “They're perfect for the Fest's party-like atmosphere, and will definitely get people dancing.”

A different act will perform the second night of the festival.


“The good times and great vibes continues Saturday night with PROJECT 432's hip-hop infused reggae-rock, which twists and turns in many unexpected directions,” Osborne said. “They've built up a steady following in Denver in recent years. We are excited for Brew Fest attendees to find out why.”

Osborne is excited to showcase these bands, but he is also excited about the opportunity to try some new beers.

“With the proliferation of microbreweries in Denver and along the Front Range, it can be difficult at times to know where to begin,” he said. “For over a decade, Denver Winter Brew Fest and its counterpart festivals have put some of the best beers these breweries have to offer under one roof, making it a wonderful place for Denver's beer connoisseurs to catch up and keep pace.”

The festival launched in 2004 when the founders traveled to the Bonnaroo music festival to operate the Flying Dog beer tent. They were inspired to start a more intimate and more beer-focused event closer to home.

It has since grown to more than 40 breweries from around the state, including Aspen Brewing, Horse & Dragon and other far-flung operations that Denver residents don’t often get a chance to taste on tap. A couple of the finest national craft brewers are also represented, including Portland Cider and California’s legendary Lagunitas. Each night features a handful of unique breweries, but most beers will be available both nights.

Each night opens with a 6 p.m. VIP hour. A limited number of $50 advance tickets get you into a special beer and cheese sampling. VIP tickets will cost $60 at the door. General admission opens at 7 p.m., and costs $50 in advance, or $60 on the day of the festival. 

Click here for tickets, a full list of participating breweries and more information.