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Brews And Blues Take Over Downtown Reno
By John W. Ostrom

The 10th annual Great Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival took over the streets of Reno on June 25, bringing together beers from 36 breweries, including microbreweries and brewpubs throughout Nevada, California, Montana and Idaho. Combined with a variety of tasty barbecue and blues bands on two different stages, the event was a great excuse to spend a weekend enjoying all that Reno has to offer.

Although the event was cut back to one day from its previous two-day format, the change seemed to be appreciated by the brewers, who previously had to spend an entire weekend at the festival and still get back to brewing the following Monday. Running from noon to almost 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, the festival actually kicked off with a first-ever Brew Fest Pub Crawl on Friday, which featured a beer tour through four of the Eldorado Hotel’s bars and a preview of Saturday’s entertainment with a free set by guitar legend Elvin Bishop.

Held in conjunction with the festival was a competition recognizing the best draft beers in seven broad categories, with each brewery entering up to two beers. First-place winners were St. Stan’s Blonde Ale in the light ale category; Heineken in the lager category; Barley’s Casino & Brewing Boulder Gold Hefeweizen in wheat beers; Firestone Walker Brewing’s Firestone Pale Ale in the popular pale ale category; Censored from Lagunitas Brewing in the amber/brown category; and the Bristlecone Brown Porter from Ruby Mountain Brewing Company in the dark ale category.

The winner in specialty beers and best of show was the Cellar Rat Raspberry from Third Street AleWorks in Santa Rosa, which featured a deep red color and huge raspberry flavor from real fruit.
The event attracted brewers from as far away as Idaho; M. J. Barleyhoppers brought along a brand-new six-handle wall of taps for the event. Also present were Nevada brewers from across the state and California brewers from Newport Beach to Red Bluff. For beer lovers, this event is a sure bet for a great afternoon of beers from throughout the West.

John W. "Brook" Ostrom is an associate editor of the Celebrator Beer News. He is a national beer judge and an award-winning homebrewer living in Davis, Calif.


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