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Snowmass Chili Pepper & Brew Fest: June 4-5

Beer and chili lovers will descend on Snowmass, Colorado, June 4-5, for one smokin’ weekend. Here are some tips on brews to watch out for, chilies to sample, and hikes to work it all off at the end of the day.

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Over the first weekend in June, Snowmass will host the seventh annual Chili Pepper & Brew Fest. The event is open to all ages (although make sure to keep those under-21-year-old paws off the booze) and will feature a killer music lineup with The Wailers, Brett Dennen, George Clinton and Parliment Funkadelic, and Kyle Hollingsworth Band.

 “I love that everyone is outside in the mountains, listening to good music, and enjoying the energy,” said Vanessa Adam, Event and Vendor Coordinator. “There is a stellar combination of music, beers, and chili cooks. It’s the best kickoff weekend of the Snowmass/Aspen summer.”

With more than 6,000 people expected to attend this year, the festival has grown tremendously, bringing in over 50 professional breweries to showcase their best summer ale. But watch out, because not all the brews are light and summery. Twisted Pine Brewing Company’s newest brew, Ghost Face Killah, is supposed to be the hottest beer ever brewed. Made out of the hottest chili on earth, bhut jolokia, better known as the ghost chili, the tear-inducing beer will debut in Snowmass during the festival. Also keep an eye out for Breckenridge Brewery, which won Best Summer Ale at last year’s festival.

If something with a higher proof is more suited to your taste, check out the expanded European and Exotic Beer tent where there will be a Skyy Vodka and Cabo Tequila tasting (with plenty of appetizers) for a little extra.

“The brewers and chili cooks are very passionate about what they do,” said Chelsey Doell, Local Chili Cook & Homebrewer Coordinator. “They both have their own subcultures and it is fun to experience them.”

After sampling some beers and working up an appetite (and a buzz, perhaps), Doell suggests heading over to check out the chili cook off to sample the salsas and chilies with interesting ingredients, which are always crowd favorites. Don’t miss tasting concoctions by Steve Tomasek, Priscilla Licon, and Mick and Kathy Weiss, who are always powerhouses in the competition.

Take a break mid-day by hitting the Rim Trail either by bike or foot. The five-mile trail begins near the Rodeo Parking Lot and requires a little fence jumping. But after a few ducks and a decent climb to the ridge, there are great views of Old Snowmass Valley and the lake to one side and New Snowmass to the other.

Where to Stay: The Silvertree Hotel located off Fanny Hill

Take advantage of festival packages that include lodging, Chili & Brew tastings, and concert tickets starting as low as $149 per person.