|A fine day for a beer.|
The atmosphere was as laid back as could be. Little kids played in the field (Rockin' Brews was held on the baseball diamond at the entrance to town), Barbies strewn about. The brewery folks were convivial and happy to chat.
For such a small fest, the beer selection was quite good.
The downside: Rockin' Brews was sparsely attended, something a few brewery workers remarked upon. Perhaps it was due to competition from other events. It was held the same day as Animas River Days in Durango, and Ska had a live band at their place. Silverton also only has about 200 year-round residents, so events have to draw people in from elsewhere.
But I think you also have to look at price. The fest cost $30, quite a bit for such a small event (it should be noted the proceeds went to the nonprofit San Juan County Historical Society). I came late in the day, so I got in for the money in my wallet ($23). Still, I bet some prospective festival-goers were put off by the price tag.
Fortunately, the few who came made Rockin' Brews a pretty laid-back event. As I got there late, I only had a few beers:
• A rye ale from Ouray Brewery. Smooth, refreshing, not quite as good as Smugglers Brewpub's Rocky Mountain Rye.
• Aspen Brewing Co.'s Independence Pass IPA. It's always a good sign when a young brewery has a fine IPA. This was a wonderfully citrusy, grassy and tasty IPA. Probably my favorite beer of the fest.
It's rather strong (7.7 percent ABV, 75-80 IBUs), but balances nicely. Aspen uses primarily Palisade hops, along with some Columbuses, Cascades and Simcoes.
• Ourayle House brought Summit Pale Ale, brewed with Summit hops. Another good one from Mr. Grumpy Pants, who does well with pale ales.
• Gunnison Brewery tapped a whiskey barrel-aged porter named Porterotti. The whiskey note was nicely done, not too big for the base beer, a well-turned porter. A fine job by Gunnison.
Overall, a really nice time, some great beer and friendly folks. I hope more people support it next year.