A Saturday in Wyoming on the grass, live music, food and cold beer – it’s a combination that’s hard to get wrong. It’s the typical scene at Wyoming’s summer beer festivals.
“It’s kind of hard to not create good atmosphere,” said Tim Barnes, the president and founder of the Wyoming Brewers Guild as well as the co-founder Black Tooth Brewing Co.
The craft beer industry is growing nationwide and in Wyoming, drawing crowds and breweries to events.
Since Black Tooth opened in 2010, the number of breweries in Wyoming has grown from about eight to nearly two dozen the last time he counted.
“There’s been a very explosive trend in craft breweries across the country, and so along with that comes more and more craft festivals,” Barnes said.
Wyoming is home to several major beer festivals and smaller events scattered through the state. Barnes estimates maybe 25 — many of them fundraisers in their communities. Some draw hundreds, or even thousands. Other towns host them where the community population doesn’t approach the numbers at some larger festivals.
“There’s a beer festival in every little town with a post office anymore,” Barnes said.
Barnes helped start Sheridan’s annual brew fest, which draws about 1,500 people.
The brewery also pours at festivals around the state, usually featuring some familiar favorites, tap-room only picks and whatever is freshest from the brewery, he said. One of Black Tooth’s newest creations is a summer seasonal copper mule – a ginger, lime cream ale the company is distributing in cans.
Wyoming’s beers compete among the best, with brews from Snake River brewing company, Melvin brewing company and Black Tooth regularly medaling in national and international competitions, Barnes said.
“It’s routinely respected as some of the best for sure,” he said.
Beer festivals give opportunities for breweries to show off their works as well as for people to experience more brews from around the state, said beer enthusiast John Giantonio who runs a Wyoming Beer Trail website, app and Facebook page.
They may not be in Casper to try out what Frontier Brewing Company is creating, for example. Some breweries distribute cans or bottles to liquor outlets around Wyoming, and some don’t. Many are fundraisers for nonprofits that benefit people around the state, he added.
“And summer is not right without a beer festival, so you’ve got to have that and every town should have one,” Giantonio said.
The Casper Star-Tribune’s beer festival guide features some of Wyoming’s top beer festivals this summer. Check back for updates and additional events at trib.com.
2018 Fremont Toyota Lander Brewfest
The sixteenth annual event Lander Brewfest features more than 20 craft breweries from around the Rocky Mountain region with more than 70 beers and about 3,000 participants, according to the festival’s website. The festival features live music, vendors and activities including Brewer’s Corner Classes to showcase beer and food pairings. Music is provided by soul-driven dance rock band The Fritz of Asheville, North Carolina along with Jeff Crosby and the Refugees and folk-rock and hip-hop band Satsang on Saturday.
The event coincides with the 4th annual Golf with Brewers event Saturday morning at the Golf Club and the Fremont Area Road Tour.
Where: Lander City Park, 405 Fremont St., Lander
When: June 8-9
Tickets & info: $35 for a one-day pass, $55 for a two-day pass at the Lander Chamber of Commerce (160 N. First St., Lander) at the gates or online landerbrewfest.com. Early Bird prices: $25 and $45 through June 3.
Wyoming Brewers Festival
This Father’s Day weekend festival presented by Midas features at least 60 beers from different beers from more 20 to 30 breweries. The sixth annual event raises money to for the revitalization of the Historic Union Pacific Depot in downtown Cheyenne, according to the festival website.
Where: Depot Plaza, 121 W. 15th St., Cheyenne,
When: 5 to 10 p.m. June 15 -16
Tickets & info: $35 for one day in advance or $45 at the door and $60 for a limited number of weekend passes available online only at wyobrewfest.com. Open to ages 21 and older.
The Laramie Brewfest draws crowds of about 2,000 for beer sampling, dancing and live music. The event is the largest fundraiser for Laramie Main Street Alliance, whose projects include downtown improvement projects and public art, according to the festival website. The festival coincides with Laramie Jubilee Days. Pets and strollers are discouraged.
Where: Laramie Historic Railroad Depot and Depot Park, 600 S. First St., Laramie
When: 12 to 6 p.m. July 14, general admission opens at 1:30 p.m., VIP gates open at noon
Tickets & info: laramiebrewfest.com
Yellowstone Beer Fest 2018
This festival spotlights the more than 50 breweries with more than 200 beers from across the country, including rare and unique brews, according to the festival website. The Yellowstone Beer Fest raises money for local charities.
The beer list will be released the week of “Cody Beer Week,” which features special releases at bars and liquor stores as well as beer dinners.
Where: Park County Complex Lawn, 1501 Stampede Ave., Cody
When: 3 p.m. July 21 with VIP entry at 2 p.m.
Tickets & info: $35 in advance at yellowstonebeerfest.com or $40 the day of the event. Open to ages 21 and older.
This festival features craft brews from around the region.
Where: Historic Depot Square, 920 Front St., Evanston
When: 1 to 5 p.m. July 21
Gillette Main Street 2018 Brewfest
The Fifth annual Gillette Main Street Brewfest features dozens of brewers, live music and vendors.
Where: Gillette Avenue, Gillette
When: 4 to 8 p.m. July 21
Tickets & info: $30 in advance at Gillette Brewing Company & Gone Postal Pizzeria and Alignment Pros Point S Tire & Auto Service. Tickets are $35 at the door. Kids and non-drinking attendees are admitted for free. For more information, go to the event Facebook page or gillettemainstreet.us/.
Sweetwater Blues n’ Brews
The 11th annual fest returns with brews and blues from around the state and region. The lineup features celebrated guitarist and Blues Hall of Famer Bobby Messano & Broken Toys, Liz Mandeville, WY5, Chuck Dittman and Amy Rasdall and country, southrern rock and blues artist Morgan Whitney out of Salt Lake City.
Commemorative pint glasses are available for $20 and include three beer tickets.
Where: Bunning Park, Rock Springs
When: 12 to 10 p.m., Aug. 11
Tickets & info: $5, find out more at downtownrs.com/sweetwater-blues-n-brews or (307) 352-1434
Steinley Cup Microbrew Festival & Competition
Wyoming microbreweries compete for the Steinley Cup judged by Colorado brewing professionals. The festival started in 1996 and is known as the official microbrew competition for the state, according to the festival website. Participants also can try hand-crafted creations by local and regional crafters.
Live music is provided by Maxwell Mud. The event also includes the annual chili competition.
Where: Veterans Island Park, Saratoga
When: 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 18
Tickets & info: $30 for ages 13 and older and free for children aged 12 and under at the chamber, 307-326-8855 or http://saratogachamber.info/play-here/steinleycup/.
Fremont Toyota Suds n’ Spurs Brewfest
This festival under the Bighorns features live music, along with new and favorite brewers of six states vying for people’s choice and the Tom Balding Spur Award, according to the festival website. The event raises funds for the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce.
Country-rooted band Brand 307 headlines the musical lineup with openers the InstaGators, described as “a slice of southern fried goodness smothered in a heaping scoop of swampy soul.”
Where: Whitney Commons Park, Paul St., Sheridan
When: 2 to 7 p.m. Aug. 25
Tickets & info: $30 in advance or $35 at the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce at 307-672-2485, email@example.com, Black Tooth Brewing Company at 312 Broadway, the Cottonwood Kitchen Shop or www.sheridanwyomingchamber.org. Ages 21 and older only. For more information, go to sheridanwyoming.org/festivals-events/brew-fest/.
Sundance Beer Festival
This festival returns for a fifth year after drawing more than 1,000 participants tasting craft brews from Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana and Colorado, according to the festival website. Participants receive a tasting glass to try brews before they vote. The event also features local food and entertainment for all ages.
Where: Main Street, Sundance
When: 4 to 9 p.m. Sept. 8
Tickets & info: $25, free for kids and non-participants. Find out more at sundancebeerfestival.com or 307-283-2438