Boulder’s Fight Fire With Beer Festival
Mixes Brews and Music to Aid Firefighters
BOULDER, CO (October 10, 2012) Boulder Camera
Beer flowed and music played on Boulder’s Twenty Ninth Street mall Saturday as people gathered to sample offerings from various Colorado breweries and support the state’s firefighters at the inaugural Fight Fire with Beer Festival.
The festival, which is the culmination of Colorado’s inaugural Firefighter Appreciation Week, got started at noon on a closed portion of the mall until 10 p.m.. The event featured food from local restaurants, the chance for people to interact with firefighters and check out fire fighting equipment, a live music stage and, of course, plentiful beer.
All of the proceeds collected at the event will benefit the Colorado Fire Relief Fund.
Tracie Ellis and Darin Amann came from Arvada and Broomfield, respectively, to check out the festival. Seated on the 16-passenger bike/traveling party station MyHandleBar just after 2 p.m., Ellis sipped on a Sweaty Betty Blonde wheat beer from Boulder Beer while Amann tried one of the beer varieties offered by Denver’s Wynkoop Brewery.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Ellis said of festival’s theme of selling beer from local breweries to support firefighters and fire relief across Colorado.
An eight-year veteran of the Arvada Fire Protection District, Ellis said that, besides the beer, her favorite part of the festival was a live performance by six-piece country act Bonnie and the Clydes.
Brett Haberstick, former chief of Boulder County’s Sunshine Fire Protection District, is chairman of Firefighter Appreciation Week, and said Saturday he has been impressed with how the concept and festival had been received in their first year.
A veteran firefighter who fought Boulder County’s Fourmile Fire in 2010 and this summer’s High Park Fire in Larimer County, Haberstick said he knows what it means for firefighters when community members show their support and appreciation.
“It really is heartwarming and really touching to firefighters when people say thank you,” Haberstick said. “Even on an average day when people bake cookies and take it to their local firehouse, it really is a boost to firefighters.”
Festival creator David Clark said his goal is to see Firefighter Appreciation Week become a national event, but called Colorado the “perfect place to inaugurate it.”
Clark said every Colorado brewery contacted about the event did not hesitate to throw its support behind the event, with between 40 and 50 brewers entering submissions into the Governor’s Cup beer competition.
Clark also credited Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and Gov. John Hickenlooper for backing Firefighter Appreciation Week with the “full power of their offices.” Hickenlooper, a former brewpub owner, will join Colorado fire chiefs and certified beer judges in picking the winners of the Governor’s Cup beer competition.
Udall helped announce the Governor’s Cup winners Saturday evening, after a brief speech in which he praised Colorado’s booming brewing industry. He also praised the way Colorado approaches fighting wildfires and how Coloradans treat members of the public safety sector, including firefights, and their families.
“On behalf of all Coloradans, I want to extend gratitude to firefighters and all in the public safety sector,” Udall said, prompting a loud round of cheers from festival goers. “They’re doing something greater than their own self interest and that is this country at its best.”
The Grand Lake Brewing Company took home the award in the best amber and brown ale Governor’s Cup category with it’s Wooly Booger Nut Brown Ale, and the title in the black ale category for its Shadow Mountain Oatmeal Stout.
Boulder County favorite Oskar Blues Brewery took home the title for best American ale with its popular Dale’s Pale Ale.
It was Aurora-based Dry Dock Brewing that ruled the day, winning best India Pale Ale and best in show with it’s U.S.S. Enterprise IPA.
All four winning brews will have the option to be marketed as official Fight Fire With Beer beers for the next twelve months, in return for 10 percent of the wholesale sales from the coming year benefiting the Firefighter Appreciation Week initiative.