Home to numerous natural wonders and embodying the spirit of what many consider to be the true west, Cody, Wyoming, is a one-of-a-kind destination that is great for your next big excursion.
Finding things to do while you’re visiting Cody is a breeze. If you're an outdoor enthusiast, get ready for a treat. A convenient location just an hour east of Yellowstone National Park gives you easy access to one of the most beautiful places in North America. In addition to the park, you’ll find the natural surroundings in and around Cody, to be absolutely breathtaking. Some things to do include: horseback riding, hiking, biking, fishing, camping and just about any outdoor activity you can imagine. If the outdoors aren't your speed or you're just looking to change it up, the city has much to offer in the way of performing arts, museums, rodeos and ample opportunities for shopping. All the fun will surely work up an appetite, and fortunately you’ll find a variety of eating establishments that offer everything from chuckwagon to fine dining. While many thousands of people make their vacation plans here annually for the outdoors, events like the Yellowstone Beer Fest also bring many people to this unique area.
Entering only its third year, the Yellowstone Beer Fest didn't take long to become one of the state's top beer-themed events. This adult-only celebration of beer will feature over 50 breweries and an awesome selection of more than 150 different beers. In addition to all the beer, there will be live music performed by various bands, ample food options, fun games and the opportunity to meet a bunch of new people. To enhance this already enticing event, each participant will receive a free beer sampling glass with the knowledge that some of the proceeds will go to local charities. What better way to spend a beautiful summer day in Wyoming than sampling beer, meeting new people and enjoying all that Cody has to offer? We got the chance to interview Trent Cole, President of the Yellowstone Beer Fest, to talk about this great beer extravaganza.
RAL: Tell me about the event.
TC: This is the third annual Yellowstone Beer Fest (YBF). Last year we had about 1,800 people in attendance, and this year we expect over 2,000. Everyone must be 21+ years old to enter and no kids are permitted entry. We see a very broad age group, from newly legal drinkers to elderly. Beer is a common link between age groups. We feature 50+ breweries, which is the biggest around by far. Wyoming beer fests typically only feature Wyoming Breweries, Montana features Montana breweries and we feature every brewery near and far that wants to attend. The more the merrier! We are also organized by a separate organization called the Yellowstone Beer Fest. We are 501(c)(7) non-profit organization.
Most beer fests are organized by the local chamber of commerce. Ours is organized by beer guys. I work as the warehouse manager for the local beer distributor. On top of that, we spend a lot of money to bring in high quality bands people will enjoy. This year we have Iron Butterfly. They sing the 17-minute long In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda, an iconic rock song you’ll recognize instantly. We also have a very popular celtic rock band, The Young Dubliners.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
TC: As an attendee you will pay $30 in advance or $35 for VIP early entry. We will give you a commemorative YBF sampling glass (7oz.). This entitles you to unlimited drinks from 50+ Breweries and 150+ different beers. We give away programs that list all the breweries and beers, so people can pick and chose the beers they want to try. There is so many you won’t be able to try them all. Plus, we have live music, food vendors and even bean bag boards for some people to play. Attendees are very friendly and happy to be at the beer fest. It's a wonderful atmosphere.
RAL: Tell me about the local lodging accommodations.
TC: Cody offers a wide range of motel/hotel options. This beer fest wouldn't have happened without the help from Best Western Hotels, because they are a big sponsor and supporter. They have a couple hotels, including the Ivy, which is a couple years old and very nice. The Rodeway Inn is also a great sponsor for us. We would love for anyone attending to stay at the places that support the beer fest.
RAL: What does the event mean to the community?
TC: Cody was missing out by not having a beer fest before we began three years ago. It brings a lot of people to town, even though it may only be for a few days. We believe that the city needs to more be more proactive and offer events like this one during the summer. People have also requested doing it during a shoulder season like late spring or early, fall but we wouldn't get as many people as we would in the middle of July. Cody is the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park and July is the busiest month for our area.
Last year we donated $20,000 total to multiple charities, including local crisis intervention, Grace Food Bank, Food 4 Kids, VFW, youth baseball, and Cody Warrior lacrosse.
RAL: Why should people come?
TC: People can attend for multiple reasons. If you like beer, we offer samples you can only get here once a year. Plus, some breweries are only available once a year, at our event. If you like music, we have two big bands performing live. The social aspect of seeing so many people you know is great. I get to talk with so many friends from high school, and we always manage to make a few new friends along the way as well. On top of that, we support the local community with proceeds going to some to great local causes. Come down and drink beer for charities! We offer some very expensive/rare beers, such as Deschutes Cognac Barrel Aged Abyss, Bourbon County Stout (Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels), Lolita (Sour/Wild Ale), Raspberry Wheat and Milk Stout Nitro. Plus refreshing summertime beers with lemon, apricot, and peach. Its really a wonderful event!
For more information about the Yellowstone Beer Festival, please visit their website.