First Homemade Homegrown festival draws hundreds to downtown Craig
Alice Pleasant Park was awash Saturday in locally brewed beer and homemade pie — just a few of the many offerings at the inaugural Homemade Homegrown festival.
Kandee Dilldine and volunteers with the local Parrotheads helped spearhead the event, with proceeds benefitting Downtown Business Association.
“I hope it becomes an annual event,” Dilldine said Saturday. “Events keep people in town. Folks say there’s nothing to do in Craig, well, now there is.”
At least 200 attended Saturday’s event, which included pie baking and craft beer contests with six different local home brewers letting patrons test and vote on which of their 11 different beers was best. A separate Colorado craft beer tasting was also held Saturday. Several vendors and food trucks were on hand serving up handmade crafts and tacos.
Charlie Boeck won the custard pie category for a crème brulée. Keona Bolton won the cheesecake contest for a strawberry-blueberry cheesecake that wowed judges. Spencer Herod’s cookies and cream pie won the cream category while Joan Snyder’s fruit pie won in the fruit category.
The first-ever winner of Craig’s Homemade Homegrown home brew contest was Matt Moore and his blueberry cream ale. Moore said he was happy to win, but tried to stay humble Saturday.
“Brewers only guide,” Moore said moments after learning of his win. “I’m just a tour guide for the yeast.”
Moore hinted at a few special ingredients to help his blueberry brew win the day.
“It needed vanilla lactose to make it a little sweeter, but then I added blueberry concentrate and a metric (expletive) ton of blueberries,” Moore said.
Erica Tieppo, whose Yampa Valley Brewing Barrel Cathedral recently opened next door to Alice Pleasant Park, attended Saturday’s event helping serve beer to thirsty parkgoers. She said several breweries in Colorado donated beer to help make Craig’s event great, including Wiley Roots, Eddyline, Stormpeak and Yampa Valley Brewing, as well as Stockmen’s Liquor and area whiskey maker, Steamboat Whiskey.
“Support your local brewers and your brewery,” Tieppo said.
Lisa French with Honor Compass Designs was selling home décor and art at the festival. She was glad there’s another event in Craig promoting local crafters.
“Anything we can do to promote the local stuff,” French said. “These people are so nice. I love our town.”
For several hours, Craig’s home brewers entertained questions and handed out their free brews to those in attendance. All were excited to have their beer in Craig’s first hyper-local brew competition.
Brad McDermott of McDermott Brewing said he wanted to give the contest a shot.
“I wanted to see how my beers hold up with all the other great work here,” McDermott said.
He said he hopes Craig’s new Homemade Homegrown festival keeps on going.
“I hope it continues for many years,” McDermott said. “It’s fun. I get to put my beers in front of a huge demographic. “
Eric Hansen of All Thumbs Brewing said he thinks the event will help improve Craig.
“This is a cool idea,” Hansen said. “I appreciate anybody doing something to help improve Craig. I also love sharing my beer with people.”
There was plenty of advice offered Saturday for those interested in brewing their own beer.
“Sanitation is the key,” said Aaron Seager, a brewer.
“Don’t be afraid to experiment,” said Rob Schenck, another brewer in Saturday’s contest. “If you’re good with mechanics and not afraid of cleaning, do it.”
McDermott said brewing beer can be a way to bring family together.
“Try it,” McDermott said. “You won’t like some. You’ll love some. It’ll get to the point where it’s more than brewing. It’s to give to friends and family you love.”
Moore agreed beer is a social harbinger.
“Beer brings people together,” he said.