The layout was a fenced asphalt parking lot adjacent to the multi-story NorWest Bank and across the street from both Phantom Canyon's and Judge Baldwin's brewpubs. $3 got you in the gate after a 100% ID check. In an uncommon sign of civility, children of all ages were welcomed to listen to the music and enjoy the food and soft drinks. Volunteer pourers staffed long tables along the east side of the square area with awnings overhead to protect from either sunshine or rainfall. All kegs rested under the tasting tables and fed dual-tapped cold-boxes. The abundant pitchers of fresh water at each pouring station were a nice professional touch. For those with neon green wrist bands, tasting tokens cost $1 each and got you at least a 6 ounce pour in your 12 ounce plastic mug. No beer police, security guards, or uniformed law enforcement personnel were evident. The crowd was so civilized that it actually formed one main line for the 12 portable rest-rooms. The ramped porta-potty marked as wheelchair accessible showed good attention to detail by the organizers. The stage at the south end of the square offered six bands the opportunity to test everyone's audible pain threshold and their popularity was evidenced by the fact that folding chairs under the shade tents were extremely scarce. A central T-shirt booth offered colorful designs featuring local logos for around $13. A half-dozen food vendors lined the west side producing wafting aromas of teriyaki, pretzels, burritos, pizzas, and bratwurst.
The Avery Alt offered a smooth medium malty flavor. The Only The Best Brewing Dark Lager, new from Divide, Colorado, had a medium body with a malty flavor and coarse hoppy character. From Blicks Brewing Company was their Blind Side Pale Ale, amber in color, with a sharp hoppy flavor, and nice light body. Their Red appeared a dark amber color with a dry malty flavor and very dry finish. The Pale Ale from Cheyenne Mountain Brewing had a sulphury aroma with a medium body and hoppy flavor balance. From the new Palmer Lake Brewing Company was their Hefeweizen with its clove aroma, hazy gold color, balanced sweet/tart flavor, and tart aftertaste. Also relatively new on the front range brewing scene was Eldoradro Canyon Brewing Company with its Bobo's Brown Ale, opaque, with an opening malty aroma, the malty sweet flavor led to a dry finish. The local Sharkey's Brewing Company offered their Oatmeal Stout with its medium body, sharp malt character, and creamy mouthfeel. From Timberline Ales came their Timberline Pale Ale, gold in color, evenly balanced, the medium body was accompanied by a malt/hop flavor with a clean hoppy finish. Their Timberline Apricot Ale had a very light fruity aroma, light fruity flavor, medium body, and tart flavor and aftertaste. The Pale Ale from Tommyknocker Brewery had its most memorable characteristic its very dry hop flavor. New on the scene from Tivoli Brewery was the Maple Nut Brown Ale, malty sweet in flavor, the creamy mouthfeel was well-matched. From Palmer Lake came the Locomotive Stout, lightly carbonated, light bodied, the flavor was dominated by the dry roasted barley flavor. The neighboring Judge Baldwin's featured their Wild West Wheat with its clean intense lemony aroma and wheaty/hoppy flavor. Their Range Rider Red appeared a clear amber color but the intense raspberry aroma portended the sharp dry fruity flavor to follow.
Although smoking was allowed in the tasting area, there were few nicotine addicts evident and only a few people blowing cigar smoke in others' faces. The crowd of 4,500+ was a roughly 50/50 mix, male/female, and mostly in their twenties and thirties. The organizers and volunteers really had their act together and the ten minute rest-room line was insignificant given the healthy pours available to get you through the wait. Overall the mood was very upbeat and proceeds went to benefit the Colorado Springs Symphony and the Downtown Colorado Springs, Inc. Projects
1996 Microbrewer's Exposition
September 21, 1996 Colorado Springs, Colorado
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - September, 1996