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Get Ready for the Best Drinking Festivals in Southwest Colorado
It’s time to go cruisin’ for a brew in Southwest Colorado. There are 21 breweries, 4 wineries, 4 distilleries, 2 cideries and 1 soda company located along the Crafted Beverages loop of Southwestern Colorado, not to mention 9 coffee roasters or kombucha producers.
As if you need an excuse to visit every single one of them, we’ve put together the most researched, all-inclusive map of drinking-events throughout our region, including every festival, beer tapping, train tour and party along the way.
The road will take you through Durango, Mancos, Dolores, Cortez, Silverton, Ouray, Ridgway, Telluride, Bayfield, Ignacio and Pagosa Springs. Along the way, you’ll meet award-winning brewers, artisan crafters, vintners, and professional partiers. Should you visit every single destination, you will join the ranks of bibulous travel experts with ultimate bragging rights. As always, please drink responsibly and plan ahead with a designated driver or ride share service.
March 2nd: Craft Beer and Culinary Crawl
As part of Durango’s 13th Annual Independent Film Festival, the Craft Beer and Culinary Crawl will feature a pairing of famous Durango beers and locally-made chef specials. Carver Brewing Company, Steamworks Brewing, and local restauratn Eolus will participate, among others.
March 17th: Shamrock Express
You may have experienced a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, but have you explored the cascades like the Irish do? This St. Patrick’s Day event is partnered with New Terrain Brewing Company, based out of Golden, Colorado. They will be serving up their mint chocolate St. Patrick’s Day beer, which complements well with the optional corn beef sandwiches from the Yellow Carrot. The trip is a half-day journey into the Cascade Wye, departing at 9:45 AM and returning at 3 PM.
April 8th: Cocktails with the Conductor
As part of Durango’s annual Music in the Mountains Classical Music Festival, this event is set to unveil all the happenings of the program and give you an intimate experience with Music Director and Conductor Guillermo Figueroa. Star Liquor will be offering wine and martinis, included with your $50 event ticket.
April 14th: WildEdge Brewing 1 Year Anniversary
Cortez-based WildEdge Brewing is hosting their 1 year anniversary party this April. There will be swag, cask beer releases, live music and drink specials from 12 to 10 PM.
April 20th – 22nd: Durango Bluegrass Meltdown
A classic Durangoan festival, the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown is a local favorite. With at least 22 bands in attendance over this three day event, there will be plenty of opportunities for complementary drinking and food pairings.
April 28th: Pagosa Pints & Pools Craft Beer Festival
What is a better combination than hot springs and cold beer? The 3rd Annual Pints and Pools Festival takes place in Pagosa Springs, where you can soak in the 23 individual hot pools while you wait for the 4PM beer tasting event. A true “taste of the San Juans” experience, live music will fill the air as you fill your belly with great food and even better drinks.
May 3rd – 5th: The Durango Wine Experience
Not to be outdone by our crowd of craft beer aficionados, the Durango wine community has put together a three day, educational event based around the fermented grape juice we love. You will have the opportunity to sample from hundreds of wineries, artisan distilleries and even breweries. The event will end on Saturday with a “Grand Tasting,” an event supported by the best of the best local chefs in Durango.
July 7th – 29th: Music in the Mountains
Durango’s classical music festival celebrates more than 30 years of music in the mountains this July. This event, spanning nearly the entire month, will feature more than 80 musicians over 7 different venues across town. The official 2018 schedule has not been released yet, but based on previous years, attendees can expect dinners, benefit events, and concerts held by award-winning and globally recognized musicians.
August 4th: Pine River Brewfest
Bayfield’s first ever brewfest is set to take place this summer. Enjoy a barbecue cook off, live music and locally made, locally loved craft beverages of every kind. With 25 beverage vendors, 12 BBQ vendors, and several retail shop vendors filling the grounds at Eagle Park, this will be a joyous 7 hour event. Don’t worry about a babysitter; children of all ages are welcome and family-friendly activities will be set up at the event site. Join the 5K fun run and wind down with a lineup of music artists from around Colorado and beyond. Proceeds benefit a local charity, the Be Frank Foundation.
August 25th: The 20th Annual San Juan Brewfest
One of Durango’s most beloved annual events, the San Juan Brewfest presents everything the Southwest has to offer. With 50 breweries in attendance, more than 100 unique beers to try, and live music all day long, this massive party is a necessary experience for any and all craft beverage lovers. Both VIP and general admission tickets go on sale June 1st, 2018.
August 25th: Thirsty 13 Marathon
Earn your beer at the Thirsty 13 Marathon, hosted in part by the San Juan Brewfest. The race starts at 8 AM, the morning of the Brewfest. Racers should expect lots of downhill, a beautiful winding course and the perfect warm-up for a full afternoon of luxuriating and drinking.
September 2nd: Durango Brew Train (date 1 of 2)
This is a major bucket list item for any and all beer lovers. Embark on a journey into the national forest via a historical train and sample local beer from around the Southwest. Brewers from at least 6 local breweries will be hopping from each train car, providing education on the processes behind the brews, the inspiration and their history. Your trip will take you to a secluded section of the National Forest known as the Cascade Wye, only accessible by foot or train. Explore the trails, then keep the party going with live music, more beer and a bavarian-style picnic catered by the Yellow Carrot in Durango. 21+ event.
September 2nd: Wine and Rails (date 1 of 2)
An unforgettable way to travel through the San Juan National Forest, board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway with a glass of wine in hand. This event, which will take place twice this month, includes a slew of activities based around wine, wine education and trivia games. Prizes for various competitions will be given out as well. Enjoy a buffet, live music, dancing, wine samples and good company at the Cascade Canyon destination. Participating wineries include Durango’s own Four Leaves Winery, 5680, Cortez-based Sutcliffe Vineyards, and the Garrett Estates. Train departs at 10 AM from downtown Durango and returns at 4:40 PM.
September 14th – September 16th: Colorfest Weekend in Pagosa
Beer, wine, live music and...hot air balloons! Colorfest Weekend, held in Pagosa Springs is an Instagrammable event, to say the least. Enjoy your favorite craft drinks or cocktails as the sky fills with the vibrant colors of more than 20 hot air balloons. Taking part in Saturday afternoon’s “People’s Choice” awards is a must, as New Mexican and Coloradan brewers go head to head and compete for your love, as well as the coveted “Brewers Choice” award. Tickets are on sale now. More can be found on their website.
September 15th – September 17th: Telluride Brews and Blues Festival
Telluride’s stunning mountain backdrop is just the icing on the rumcake of this favorite event. The Brews and Blues Festival, now in its 25th year, brings folks together from all around the world to celebrate three things: authentic blues music, the mountains, and lots of brews. With three days of jam-packed music and partying, it’s easy to get caught up in strategizing your own custom itinerary. But when you’re in Telluride, ears filled with sweet blues, the best plan can sometimes be no plan.
September 29th: Durango Brew Train (date 2 of 2)
This is your second opportunity to hop on the classic Durango Brew Train. The Stillhouse Junkies band will be grooving throughout the event. Nortons Catering, a beloved catering company owned by Chuck Norton, will cater.
September 30th: Wine and Rails (date 2 of 2)
This is your second opportunity to join in on the Wine and Rails event, hosted by the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
October 6th: Southwest Sour Fest
This 2nd annual sour beer festival will be hosted by WildEdge Brewing in Cortez and feature at least 12 unique sour beers on tap, along with food specials and music.
No calendar is complete without a proper Oktoberfest celebration in the fall. Durango’s own Purgatory Resort will host a proper German getdown, complete with live music, food and brews from all 7 Durango brewers.
This seven week event begins during the week of Thanksgiving and ends with the world-renowned ice climbing festival in late January. Most of the events of Winterfest are family-friendly, as a way to come together as a community and celebrate the holidays. But where there are holiday celebrations, there is always spiked eggnog. The Weekawken and Sherbino’s ARTbar will be hosting a growler painting event on December 14th from 6-8 PM at the Sherbino Theater in Ridgway. The Conga Rock party at the Silver Eagle Saloon on the 16th will have drink specials and games all night long. On December 23rd, KJ Wood Distillers will host “You Knew Me When” live and be serving up their own drinks.
December 8th: Ouray Wine, Chocolate and Cheese Festival
One of the more special evening events of the Ouray Winterest, the wine, chocolate and cheese festival is just as amazing as it sounds. Sample the wines, cuisine and desserts of local Colorado crafters as you listen to music from Swing City Express. Keep in touch on their Facebook page to learn about the costume theme when decided, for your chance to win “Most Festively Dressed.”