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Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Serves Up Hops & Knowledge at 2014 Festival

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Industry experts and brewmasters headline nine seminars and workshops

The seminars will cover a range of topics and tastings designed to appeal to a diverse audience. Below are highlights for each craft beer Seminars & Workshops:

Cicerone Workshop, Fri. at 8:30am

Relatively new to the craft beer scene, the Cicerone Program offers a measurable certification with regard to knowledge of all things beer. An in-depth look at a variety of topics in preparation for either the Certified Beer Server Exam available online or the Certified Cicerone Exam offered Friday afternoon. Pat Fahey, Master Cicerone, will be leading the seminar and introducing samples of off-flavor beers to enhance sensory awareness of common flaws. This workshop is open to the public at no charge thanks to the support of All About Beer Magazine.

Certified Cicerone Exam, Fri. at 2:30pm

The Certified Cicerone Exam is offered at various times year around in the United States. Those interested in taking this challenging exam to earn their certification have the opportunity to do so in Vail during Big Beers weekend. To register for the Certified Cicerone Exam, please contact Ray Daniels, Director, at presents Winter Seasonals From The Craft Brewers Who Brew Them, Fri. at 6:30pm

Julia Herz from the Brewers Association and will be moderating a panel of craft brewers who will be presenting their winter seasonals in a blind tasting with the audience. Featuring  four brewers from across the nation, including Omar Ansari of Surly Brewing Co. from Minneapolis, MN, Scott Vaccaro from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. in Elmsford, NY, Jeffrey Green from Very Nice Brewing Co. in Nederland and Cory Forster from Dillon Dam Brewery in Dillon, CO, promises an interesting & tasty adventure.

Experimental Brewing Seminar - Saisons, Sat. at 9:30am

 Steven Pauwels from Boulevard Brewing Co, Jason Yester from Trinity Brewing Co., Dann Paquette from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, and Bryan Greenhagen from Mystic Brewery will be sharing their experience and perspective about the saison style of beer and brewing saisons. Each will offer samples of their own products to support their presentation.

Mmmmm! Ahhhhh! Beer In Food: Cooking With The Best ingredient In Your Kitchen, Sat. at 12 noon

Ginger Johnson, Founder of Women Enjoying Beer, will be discussing craft beer in the kitchen, specifically cooking with it, and sharing tasty examples of what can be done. Johnson leads off the Sensory Workshop track of seminars for the afternoon.  

Quality, Consistency & the House of Funk, Sat. at 12 noon

The Technical Track of seminars begins with Gwen Conley from Lost Abbey Brewing Co. offering sage advice about “Quality, Consistency & the House of Funk.” Dealing primarily with quality control in the presence of wild yeast, Conley has considerable experience and perspective from which to speak.

Featured Brewmasters’ Seminars, Sat. at 12 noon - & Sat. at 1:15pm

Cam O'Connor  & Scott Vaccaro Cam O’Connor from Deschutes Brewing Co. and Scott Vaccaro from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., the 2014 Featured Brewmasters,  will be co-hosting their two seminars working with the art and science of blending barrel aged beers. Although some of the content will be more technical, any level of participant will be intrigued by this topic. 

Exploring Malt: Color, Aroma & Flavor, Sat. at 1:15pm

John Holl, editor of All About Beer Magazine, will be breaking the beers down to their malt component and leading the discussion about the role that malt plays in the finished product.  Joining him will be John Mallet from Bell’s Brewery , Will Meyers from Cambridge Brewing Co., and Tim Matthews from Oskar Blues Brewing Co.

Brewing with Brettanomyces, Sat. at 1:15pm

Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project puts a wrap on the Technical Track with perhaps the most advanced seminar of the weekend, “Brewing with Brettanomyces,” an extremely popular topic among brewers and the subject of the dissertation for his masters degree in brewing and distilling.

All attendees with a ticket for the Commercial Tasting on Saturday afternoon can attend these seminars on a general admission basis. This means that those who have purchased a reserved seat for the seminar, VIP Pass holders and media are seated first, and then remaining seats and standing room are fair game for those with a Commercial Tasting ticket. To purchase a reserved seat to one of the seminars, the Purchase Tickets page of the Big Beers Festival website ( offers seats for $10, while the Seminars page gives a more thorough description of the seminar and its host.

About Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines

The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival is a three day event featuring educational seminars, two Brewmasters dinners, a Commercial Tasting, a homebrew competition and other tastings and pairings.  Designed to welcome the beer connoisseur, the innovative homebrewer, or the novice curious about craft beer, participants will find events appropriate for all levels of interest.  The festival regularly draws breweries from around the world offering literally hundreds of choices. The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival actively supports the efforts of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, a local organization that helps individuals who live and work in the Vail Valley that have critical financial need due to medical catastrophes, accidents or long-term illnesses.  For more information about the VVCF, visit  Contact the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival at

About Vail Cascade

Vail Cascade is a creek side, ski-in/ski-out base camp to the very best of Colorado — in every season. With the finest features of an alpine village, Vail Cascade nurtures guests with a wide expanse of natural beauty; Vail’s most comprehensive Vail conference facility; the incomparable Aria Athletic Club & Spa; creative Colorado cuisine and craft beer in Atwater on Gore Creek; and a wide variety of accommodation offerings, including condominiums and private homes ideal for extended stays. Along with every amenity necessary to make the most of each stay, guests enjoy engaging experiences delivered by a team whose true passion is to serve and share the Colorado they love in the most genuine and meaningful way. Visit and call 800.282.4183 for more information.

Lupe Hirt, MindSpeak PR, 303.859.1762,

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