Party in the 80238, By Troy Gardner

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For a two-year old event, the Stapleton Beer Festival (SBF) has shown great signs of maturity.  On a hot, yet otherwise picture perfect Saturday night, more than 2,000 people gathered on The Green to eat, dance, and have a beer or two, or three, or …

Twenty-three breweries showed why Colorado is the craft-beer capital of the United States. Throw in a caravan of local food trucks, pretzel necklaces, Opie Gone Band, and the welcome return of Chris Daniels & the Kings, and you have the party of the summer.

Kudos to the Master Community Association (MCA) and a faithful army of volunteers for elevating the SBF to a new level. Last year, 1,200 people braved a downpour and at times, long lines to sample beers from eight breweries at the inaugural festival. It was a good start, but Diane Deeter, director of programs and events for the MCA, knew the SBF could be much more. With the recruitment of new breweries, the lines disappeared. The addition of food trucks and the nicest portable restrooms I’ve ever seen rounded out the experience.

However, the star of the evening was the beer. For the uninitiated event attendee, it was a great opportunity to learn the difference between a pilsner and a porter. For the experts, it was chance to rub elbows with the master brewers themselves and talk shop. For the rest of us, it was a chance to try that stout you were too afraid to buy at the liquor store. There are no winners or losers at an event like this. If you’ve spent any time in a tasting room lately, you know these brewers are not competitors, but part of a tight-knit community that supports each other.

So grab a hefeweizen and mark your calendars for summer 2012! I’m already looking forward to SBF III.