Warm Weather, Cold Beer | SteamboatToday.com

Warm Weather, Cold Beer

Events celebrate the season and suds

Danie Harrelson

— Leaf lovers and beer drinkers alike at Saturday’s Brewfest and Fall Foliage Festival couldn’t help but notice the brisk business at Mark Leier’s table.

His T-shirts were everywhere.

Whether they were admiring local vendors’ handcrafted items or standing in line to sample beer, visitors to the 11th annual Fall Foliage Festival and ninth annual Brewfest on Mount Werner sported the $8 T-shirts with “Come together right now” printed across the front.

Lura Briscoe, who served hungry patrons at a stand for Rich’s Grill, said she was happy that the community could turn out for a good time but still show some respect for the terrible loss of life in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“I’ve seen so many people wearing the same T-shirt,” Briscoe said. “It’s an excellent show of support and all the money goes for a good cause.”

All proceeds from the T-shirts are sent to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts in New York City and Washington, D.C., Leier said.

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Leier, owner of Chaos Ink in Craig, has raised $8,000 since last Wednesday. He said he wants to increase that amount to $15,000. Local graphic artist Greg Effinger helped with the design, he said.

“We’re going to continue selling them until there’s no longer a need,” Leier said.

The Steamboat Springs Volunteer Fire Department also was on hand at the festival to raise support for the families of firefighters who died in rescue efforts at the World Trade Center.

The department performed an old tradition of passing around a firefighter’s boot to collect money, volunteer firefighter Shawn Zwak said. Regardless of the method, people at the festival were receptive to requests for donations, he said.

“A lot of people have been talking to us about how they are wanting to help out,” Zwak said. “They also want to know that their money is going to useful sources.”

Admission to the Fall Foliage Festival was free to all ages but Brewfest patrons had to be 21 or older and were charged $19 in advance or paid $24 at the door.

The ticket price was definitely worthwhile, said first-time Brewfest patron Marella Colyvas of Boulder.

Instead of sampling beer with the 3-ounce Brewfest glass mug issued to every drinker, Colyvas used a smaller shot glass.

“This allows me to sample several beers and still be responsible with how much I drink,” Colyvas said.

Brewfest featured 23 breweries and almost 50 styles of beer.

Karen Gruber, a friend of Colyvas, said she wanted to make the trip after hearing about Brewfest’s beautiful setting.

“With weather like this and a view of these mountains, it’s great to take your time and sample all the quality brewery exhibits,” Gruber said.

Bob Baile of Boulder’s Twisted Pine Brewing Co. served the two women two of his favorite ales. He said he remembers serving beer to patrons in last year’s winter conditions.

The mild temperatures may encourage bigger crowds, he said, but locals are faithful to the event every year regardless of the weather.

“They stood here in the snow last year,” Baile said. “They’re back this year. You just can’t beat the people of Steamboat.”

To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4208

or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com