Oktoberfest is something that Denver does exceptionally well. And if you haven’t experienced the particular throng of drunken humanity—aka 350,000-plus people piling into the Ballpark neighborhood—at Denver Oktoberfest, then you really should get there this year. (The party runs from September 21 through 23 and September 28 through 30.)
But the Mile High City’s isn’t the only fest in Colorado worth its suds. The five fall celebrations here are a bit of a drive for Denverites, but they’re well worth it. Prost!
Date: September 7 through November 30, 2-11 p.m. Mon-Thu, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri-Sun
Location: Kline’s Beer Hall (7519 Grandview Ave., Arvada)
Distance from Denver: 10 miles
Cost: Purchase your first stein (and a beer) for $15; refills are $6 per beer
Kline’s Beer Hall in Arvada definitely deserves a spot on your Oktoberfest itinerary. With 56 beers on tap—at least 10 of which will be special ‘fest brews—you’ll be able to sample of some of the state’s best offerings, including seasonal selections from Prost Brewing, Boulder Beer Company, and Left Hand Brewing Co. Kline’s Beer Hall has your German food cravings covered as well: Bratwurst, goulash, and spätzle are all prepared in-house for the three-month-long celebration.
Date: September 8, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Location: Winter Park Resort Base Area (85 Parsenn Road, Winter Park)
Distance from Denver: 65.7 miles
Cost: Free admission; $30 buys you unlimited beer tastings
There’s a lot to love at the inaugural Alpine and Ales Mountain Oktoberfest. New Belgium Brewing and Odell Brewing will be there, and the Winter Park fest will also act as a great showcase for two smaller Denver breweries that don’t get enough love: Fiction Beer Company and Copper Kettle Brewing. Live tunes from Fort Collins’ Pandas & People and Boulder’s Voodoo Kings check off the obligatory entertainment category, but it doesn’t end there. Chainsaw carving (yep, that’s a thing) will also take place throughout the day.
Date: October 6, 1-5 p.m.
Location: Purgatory Resort Base Area (1 Skier Place, Durango)
Distance from Denver: 360 miles (If you have a few hundred dollars to burn, it’s only an hour-and-fifteen-minute flight from DIA.)
Cost: Free admission
Oktoberfest is the perfect excuse to take a fall road trip down to the beautiful mountains surrounding Durango. All five members of Durango’s Bootlegger’s Society (a group of breweries that often collaborate for events and fundraisers) will be in attendance, meaning you’ll get to sip the latest products from Ska Brewing, Steamworks Brewing, Carvers Brewing, Brew Pub & Kitchen, and Durango Brewing—in one place. Animas Brewing Company will also be pouring, meaning this fest will boast some of the best suds in Colorado.
Date: October 6, noon-6 p.m.
Location: Lundgren Theater Park (50 Lundgren Blvd., Gypsum)
Distance from Denver: 133 miles
Cost: Free admission
Named for the town of Gypsum, this mountain festival is a local affair through and through. Bonfire Brewing, located in nearby Eagle, is again sponsoring the festival, but this is the first Oktoberfest to feature Bonfire Brewing’s new-and-improved lineup of craft brews, including the hop-tastic, flavorful WtFO Imperial IPA (which we covered in a recent roundup). Games and local music acts will also be on deck.
Date: October 5 and 6, schedule TBA
Location: Roosevelt Park (700 Longs Peak Ave., Longmont)
Distance from Denver: 38 miles
Cost: Friday general admission is $15; Saturday general admission is $5
This is a can’t-miss event. Left Hand Brewing’s Oktoberfest is a town-wide celebration that brings together more than 10 local breweries to benefit the St. Vrain Football Club and the Left Hand Brewing foundation. The list of participants includes Oskar Blues and Long’s Peak, and grub will be provided by area restaurants such as Longmont’s Samples, which was recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. If you only go for one day, make it Saturday, when the Brewer’s Bicycle Parade takes place. Starting at 11 a.m. at Left Hand, brewers will hop on their bikes and ride around town, ending at Roosevelt Park with a royal cheer…and a beer.