Big Beers Festival Announces Educational Speaker Tracks

Big Beers Festival Announces Educational Speaker Tracks

VAIL, CO – The Big Beers Fifteenth Anniversary weekend kicks off on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at the Vail Cascade Resort, highlighting education as a primary focus for the weekend. The three day schedule includes thirteen diverse workshops and seminars, complementing three Brewmasters’ Dinners and the Welcome Reception which feature craft beer and food pairings. All events throughout the weekend feature brewmasters and industry veterans who will challenge and delight the palate of each attendee. The full weekend schedule is available at

Friday leads off with Cicerone Certification Program Creator, Ray Daniels, offering a complimentary workshop sponsored by All About Beer Magazine. In the evening, will feature “Palate Trips and an Insider Tasting”, introducing a new course titled “Craft Beer and Food”, created by Julia Herz of the Brewers Association and Chef Adam Dulye of The Monk’s Kettle and The Abbot’s Cellar in San Francisco.

The Experimental Brewing Seminar opens Saturday morning with “Stouts: Beyond Tradition”. Panelists will include John Mallett of Bell’s Brewery, Cory King of Perennial Artisan Ales, Brian Dunn of Great Divide Brewing Co., and Dr. Jeremy Gobien of Copper Kettle Brewing Co. Four seminar tracks ensue, including two sessions each of Technical Seminars, Sensory Workshops, Featured Brewmaster’s Seminars, and a new “Random Track” set.

The Fifteenth Anniversary Technical seminars will be titled “Belgian Inspiration” and “American Style Sour Beer”. Peter Bouckaert and Lauren Salazar of New Belgium Brewing Co. speak to the question of ‘who influences whom?’ from both Belgian and American perspectives, and Ben Knutson of AC Golden Brewing Co. will tackle a similar evolution, but in a different manner, showing how American brewers have created their own style of sours.

Fred Bueltmann of New Holland Brewing Co. and John Holl of All About Beer Magazine will take their guests on a more everyday tour through craft beer on the Sensory Workshop Track. With Michigan cheese and chocolate, attendees will learn about craft beer pairings from Bueltmann in “Beer & Food with the Beervangelist”, while Holl will be shedding light on the yeast in our beer, via “Harvesting Yeast From Strange Places”.

Featured Brewmasters are highlighted each year at the Big Beers Festival, and the Fifteenth Anniversary will be showcasing Jeff Versele of Brouwerij Van Steenberge and Ron Kloth of Papago Brewing Co. Versele, Owner of Van Steenberge, will speak about “Yeast Cultures and Keg Refermentation”. Kloth, Owner of Papago, will share the stage with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Tim Myers of Strange Craft Beer Company for his discussion about using “Non-traditional Ingredients” in brewing.

New this year is a “Random Track” of seminars. The first will be hosted by Amahl Turczyn, frequent contributing author for Zymurgy, the magazine of the American Homebrewers Association. Turczyn will be leading a discussion called “Send in the Clones: Sensory Analysis and Recipe Formulation Techniques for Homebrewers”. Four brewers will join him for this seminar, including Matt Brynildson from Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Dustin Jamison of Boulevard Brewing Co., Christian Koch of Elevation Beer Co., and John Frazee from Gravity Brewing Co.

Whetting every attendee’s appetite for the Commercial Tasting, Patrick Dawson will be wrapping up this ‘random’ seminar track with “Vintage Beers”. Dawson will be discussing the ins and outs of cellaring beer with Jared Jankoski of Goose Island Beer Co. and Troy Casey of Casey Blending and Brewing.

In addition to the Cicerone Workshop, two other free seminars will be also offered over the course of the weekend. The popular “Cigar Pairing Experience” will be held on Friday late night, and in direct contrast, “The Yoga of Brewing” is scheduled on Saturday morning with Stephanie Long of the Altitude Chophouse & Brewery.

To purchase tickets, learn about special lodging rates, and for more information about the Big Beers Festival, visit The Big Beers Festival supports the Vail Valley Charitable Fund with a portion of event proceeds. For further information about the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, go to The Vail Cascade Resort, host of the Big Beers Festival, can be found at



The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival is an internationally recognized gathering place for celebrity craft brewers, craft beer industry veterans, and craft beer aficionados in the world class resort of Vail, Colorado. Designed to educate all types of attendees, thirteen seminars and workshops are held over the three day weekend in addition to three Brewmasters’ Dinners, the Welcome Reception, the “Belgians, Barleywines & Strong Ales Homebrew Competition” judging, and the legendary Commercial Tasting of over 300 beers. Benefitting the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, the event celebrates its Fifteenth Anniversary in January 2015. For more information, see



About Vail: There’s no place like Vail for year-round recreation, outdoor pursuits and cultural activities in the heart of the Rockies. Located just two hours west of Denver, Vail’s fresh air, rugged beauty and charming pedestrian village await guests. Discover a quaint mountain town where outdoor activities abound and the performing arts flourish. Matching the incredible winter mountain experience, Vail from May through October is characterized by a rich culinary scene, family activities, a world-class events schedule and everything in between. This summer guests can experience events like the new Vail Summer Bluegrass Series, GoPro Mountain Games, Vail Jazz Festival, the Vail International Festival of Dance, BRAVO! Vail, USA Pro Challenge, Gourmet on Gore culinary festival and much more. Vail offers a diverse range of lodging options from luxury brands to boutique hotels, condominiums and vacation rentals. For more information on a Vail vacation, please visit