Kyle’s Brew Fest: Does It Get Any Better?

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (

For the second year in a row, Kyle Hollingsworth handcrafted his very own brew fest. Last year it took place the evening prior to String Cheese Incident’s Red Rocks run at The Great Divide Brewery in Denver. This year saw a boost in attendance and a move up to the Boulder Beer parking lot. With the inclusion of thirty breweries and sixty beers on tap, the stage was set for an amazing afternoon. We arrived just before 2:00 PM and got in line. With the price of admission we were given: two tickets for full pours, a ticket for food, all the tasters we could handle, and a commemorative pint glass. The only issue was that it was going to be a hot one as temperatures reached well into the 90s. The temp was definitely a factor but the huge variety of icy beers helped to contain the sweltering heat.

Everyone was well aware of Kyle’s collaboration with Boulder Beer, which came in the form of a “Festival Pale Ale” titled Hoopla. What was news to me was that he had made an additional three brews with Odell’s, Avery, and Twisted Pine. Honestly it was a great representation of Colorado Breweries and Kyle did an amazing job of creating four distinctly different beers for his very own festival. I wandered around sampling and discussing beer with the myriad of brewers on site. Some of the amazing standouts came from Stone, Alaskan, Ska, and Odell’s, but the real surprise winner of the day was Pizza Port Brewing. They have an IPA that is out of this world and unavailable anywhere in Colorado other than this particular event.

The entire festival was put on to benefit Conscious Alliance. I got a chance to talk with Jenny Mueller about the good work they do. For those that don’t know, Conscious Alliance is a nonprofit that, through their program Art That Feeds, distributes poster artwork for donated food. I have more than one C.A. poster on my wall and they are an incredible charity. Since they began in 2002, they have collected over one million pounds of food. At Kyle’s Brew Fest they hosted a silent auction with all the proceeds going directly to feed the hungry. Nice work Conscious Alliance.

Kyle began his set by inviting all the brewers he collaborated with onstage to discuss the process they went through for the various beers they created specifically for the fest. After a quick moment the band made their way onto the stage. Dave Watts could not make it due to a prior engagement with Juno What?, but Brian McRea filled in very nicely. I found him to be a very in-the-pocket style drummer. KHB opened with an incredibly appropriate, “Let’s Go Outside”; here is the rest of the setlist from Archive.

SET I: Kyle & The Brewers Talk, Let’s Go Outside > Unknown Jam, Too Young > Boo Boo’s Pik-A-Nik, B E Em R, Rosie, Canary In A Coal Mine / Instrumental*> Ordinary, Galactic > This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody) > BAM

ENCORE: All I Need, Way That It Goes

*Conducted by Matt Butler

Kyle Hollingsworth Band Live at Kyle's Brew Fest, Boulder Beer Company on July 23, 2011.

Thanks to Gerry Gladu for posting the recording!

The set was just incredible and featured everything good about seeing Kyle Hollingsworth Band. Musically it was a very loose set that fit into the overall vibe of the afternoon amazingly well. The show just seemed to flow and maybe it was the inebriated crowd, but it just worked. “Boo Boo’s” was a nice touch but during Kyle’s ode to beer, which went B, E, E minor, Rest, my camera unexpectedly shut down. A warning flashed on the screen that asked me to, “Please Allow Your Camera To Cool.” Yeah, that’s how hot it was. Additional highlights from the show included the impromptu jam conducted by Everyone Orchestra leader Matt Butler who took us on a beer-fueled sonic journey. “The Galactic> Naïve Melody> Bam” to close out the set had me ecstatic. Not only was the Talking Heads cover totally funked out, but also it just came at the exact right moment. And “BAM”, which usually gets a lot of hate, was very tight. It was a solid way to close like a giant exclamation point on the set. They encored, and with that it was over.

I was left with a warm feeling and a level of excitement that I rarely get from a singular afternoon event. Everything was perfect. As people scrambled to grab their last pint, I took the opportunity to reflect with my friends. This is one of those events that will just get bigger and bigger. More breweries and possibly more bands will get involved. It’s just such an amazing community that surrounds Kyle’s Brew Fest. From the people who put it on, to the brewers, to Kyle himself, everyone worked hard to make this an unforgettable experience. So if you missed be sure to mark your calendars next year and get your tickets early, because this is one of those things that make living in Colorado special. Thanks Kyle.


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