Small Batch, Big Fest

Odell Brewing Small Batch Festival kicked off a summer of sunshine and high craft beer expectations

Odell Small Batch Festival
Odell Small Batch Festival attendees. Photo by Cynthia Wilson.

Odell Small Batch Festival

Standing in our first line of the day, checking in to the Odell Small Batch Festival gave us a feel for how the rest of the day would be; everyone would smell of sunscreen, and no one was mad about standing in a line.

Seriously, the lines moved so fast and ended with a beer, how could you be upset?

It was 1:25 by the time we were inside with our first pours (doors opened at 1). The place was filling up quickly, and you could spot the experienced Small Batch goers; blankets on the grass, lawn chairs near the bands, and extra beer tokens were in hand.

Depending on when you purchased tickets, prices ranged from $40-$50 and included a souvenir globe glass to drink from all day and four beer tokens. Additional tokens could be bought; which everyone did consider there were over 40 beer options.

Within the hour, Odell was packed with beer pun shirts, sun hats, and birks. But since they opened up their side parking lot and the barriers between the patio and their adjacent buildings, there was abundant space to move around.  

It was one of the first truly sunny days of the year, with a breeze that meant shade was unnecessary. But if you wanted a reprieve from the sunshine, there were several awnings or indoor space.

Beertender holding Onolicious, Tropical Fruit Sour
Beertender holding Onolicious, Tropical Fruit Sour. Photo by Cynthia Wilson.

My simple, but highly effective method to day drinking is to keep ABV in mind. I am a natural sipper, so the pace is not an issue, but I avoided anything over 8%. Pours ranged from 6-12 oz, depending on the beer and how many tokens you wanted to spend; but they were quite generous with their pours. I was seeking out sours and anything funky, so throughout the fest my glass with filled with:

  • Onolicious, Tropical Fruit Sour
  • Necronomicon, Fruited Sour
  • Barrel-Aged Ten Paces, Huckleberry Sour
  • Zard-Alu, Sour Apricot
  • Bleeding Berries, Blackberry Lime Gose
  • Barrel-Aged Brett Golden

But when offered a free can of Mountain Standard, I couldn’t resist their new crisp, slightly fruity IPA. I also learned that it is much easier to dance with a can in hand, rather than a glass.

“Small Batch Festival 2019” branded tulip glasses were full of suds from every spectrum of the beer rainbow.

Beertenders pouring a pear & peach sour. Photo by Cynthia Wilson
Beertenders pouring a pear & peach sour. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

My husband and I were also very impressed by their gluten-free options; he is gluten sensitive and does not drink beer. At their taproom pouring station they offered Rosé Cheeks Hard Seltzer and Eddy Mule Hard Seltzer, along with a GF IPA.

Odell Small Batch Fest had a unique way of feeling like you could move in a crowded space. Most of which can be attributed to the thoughtful organization and genuine joy of everyone attending. While we all walked with a determination to our beer pouring station of choice, we were also happy to be outside, surrounded by live music and lawn games with fellow craft beer enthusiasts.

The eighth annual, not consecutively, 2019 Small Batch was the second year with a big stage and the first year they offered beers from their RiNo, Denver brewery. About eight to ten beers were brewed specifically for the fest, along with three surprise firkins. All their standards were also available like Odell IPA and Easy Street, with barrel-aged favorites like 180 Shilling and Friek ‘13, ‘15 and ‘18.

Zack Chase went to Small Batch to drink craft beer and listen to live music. What he didn’t expect to see was another side of Odell; he had no idea the capacity of the brewery and just how much they can open up their patio for a big event like this

He purchased his ticket at the door, before they sold out, and didn’t mind buying extra tokens if it meant trying so many different brews. We agreed on our favorite; Onolicious, Tropical Fruit Sour.

The other reason my husband and I were so excited for this event was their headliner, Brent Cowles. But before we put our drinks down to dance, Wynne Odell came on stage to thank us for attending and to thank their non-profit volunteers. A portion of the proceeds benefited Meals on Wheels and Launch Skate, and volunteers from both orgs were there to help facilitate. She also thanked the crowd for celebrating 30 years of business and brewing.

After we danced and sang along to Brent, we finished the last sips of Small Batch and meandered out front. The sea of bikes parked out front was down to a puddle, and we were Uber-ed home with empty glasses and warm bellies.

BRENT COWLES and new addition to the band. Photo by Cynthia Wilson
Brent Cowles, with Heidi Hamill. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

The Music

What turns a beer fest from just great to phenomenal is the music lineup. The lineup on the bill of the small batch fest was everything from folk, hip-hop, to rock-and-roll.  There were two stages to keep all attendees satisfied audibly.

Sugarbirds, Dragon Deer, Whiskey Blanket, and Brent Cowles performed throughout the day.

Whiskey Blanket performing. Photo by Cynthia Wilson
Whiskey Blanket performing. Photo by Cynthia Wilson

Whiskey Blanket brought some social justice hip-hop that blew me away. The performance excited my 90s style hip-hop senses, and the lyrics provoked thought and promote a change.

Brent Cowels hit the stage with a new addition to his band which was refreshing. The blended harmonies and new energy was soul soothing and made the whole crowd dance.

I liked the intimacy of the festival. I did not walk far from stage-to-stage, to beer lines, or food lines, yet it was big enough to feel like a full festival. A fun day out in the Fort. 

Full Photo Album Here.

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