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Breckenridge Brewery Prepares For Spring Beer Fest

DENVER (CBS4)- Breckenridge Brewery is getting ready to head back to its hometown for it's annual Spring Beer Fest.

That's set for Saturday, April 14 in Breckenridge but CBS4's Justin McHeffey got a lesson in beer making at the pub's brewery in Denver.

Todd Thibeault shared the secrets, starting at the top of the brew house.

"This is where we basically bring water, grain and hops together to create what's called wort," Thibeault explained. "Wort is what we're going to then transfer over to the fermenters, add the yeast and create the beer.

"What we're doing here is basically boiling the grains. We're going to take some of the grain and we're boiling it to extract some of the sugars to create this real sugary, rich liquid.

"Once we have that, then we can add the hops to it, that's where you get the spice to beer. The salt and pepper to beer, the bitterness in beer which gives it a lot of the full flavor. Pump it over into the fermenters and Viola! we have beer."

More than one process is always under way in the brewery at the same time. Grain is soaking in the water of the mash time while the rest of the brewing.

Once the beer is ready, it's off to the bottling room for packaging.

Suction cups pull the bottles out of packages and send them on their way.

"It will cruise around the corner into the twist rinser then ... to the filler. In the filler, the beer will get put in there, a little blast of nitrogen gas and the cap will go on.

"The bottle will get rinsed off, dried then label gets put on."

Once that label is on, the beer is ready to head out into the world.

Thibeault is in the process of deciding what brews he'll take to the festival. He's planning on taking four but had only definitively decided on two Wednesday morning.

One is the Oatmeal Stout, the other Agave Wheat.

Inside Breckenridge Brewery
Inside Breckenridge Brewery (credit: CBS)

"Agave Wheat is our No. 1 selling beer," Thibeault said, "It's unfiltered wheat with agave nectar. It's actually great in the morning with a little orange juice."

Thibeault expects festival-goers to get a chance to taste more than 60 beers. Twenty-five craft breweries will be at the festival and each is bringing at least two brews.

VIP tickets will get you a glass tasting glass, private tastings, and a private lunch. It's $65 in advance, $75 day of.

Regular tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of. Those include a plastic tasting glass.

The festival runs from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. but Thibeault says the fun doesn't end when the festival shuts down.

"After the festival we cruise across the street to original brewpub and have some beers. The party continues."


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