Craft Lager Festival celebrates brew in Manitou

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The 10th annual Craft Lager Festival will honor firefighters with free admission to thank them for protecting the city from the Waldo Canyon fire.

The festival has grown about 40 percent every years since it started, said organizer Julion Heron.

When Heron started his craft lager festival 10 years ago, it was the only one.

Now there are five annual beer festivals in the Pikes Peak Region, he said.

“The first year it was more like a kegger in the park.”

Last year, the festival drew more than 6,000 beer lovers from around the country and featured 41 breweries and distilleries.

The brewers started to run out of beer the second day, he said. To remedy that, he’s consolidated it into a single day this year.

Craft lager brewers from around the country come to show off their beers at the festival. Lagers require a special finesse for a craft brewer, Heron has said. If the many types of beer, it takes a particular patience.