August 6 2010, 2:29 PM
Living in Fort Collins for 11 years, I never felt deprived of good beer. Brewery hopping on bicycles is the way of life in the Fort, but as fond as I am of the local offerings (you can't go wrong with New Belgium, Fort Collins, and Odell breweries all located along the same route), I missed out on some seriously swill-worthy Boulder and Denver beer. Yes, the city hosts a beer festival every summer---and has for the past 21 years---but after seeing a man lose his two front teeth to a nasty spill during the boozy affair one year, I decided to leave Brew Fest, as the locals refer to it, in my bank of college memories. (The Downtown Business Association has made some changes to the event's format---including a venue swap---hoping to set a different tone. This year's effort, however, was received with "mixed" reviews.) Now in its second year, the Gnarly Barley Brew Festival is looking to be a contender for northern Colorado's premier beer bash (not considering, of course, New Belgium's Mothership Tour de Fat). The event, which takes place this Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Larimer County Fairgrounds and Events Complex in Loveland, features FC's best but also includes brewers from around the state. Fifteen bucks buys an entry fee, tasting mug, and six drink tokens (and you can buy more for $1 each). Bonus: Get there early to check out the Larimer County Fair, which runs in conjunction with the beer fest at the fairgrounds.