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Snowmass Chili Pepper and Brewfest: Spicy Times and Temperatures around Aspen, Colorado

Jamie Lynn Miller's picture

The Snowmass Chili Pepper and Brewfest was well worth a twitter to The Weather Channel. I’ve never actually felt compelled to email the weather channel, on the off chance that my comment will hover above the ticker: “Say, how bout that afternoon shower?” But the excessively temperamental weekend weather put Snowmass revelers to the test, rewarding the hearty and the tenacious; all good weather comes to those who wait.

Friday night’s fest resembled a winter storm warning. Many ducked into mallside bars with roofs, and heaters, to wait out the rain and clouds and palpable chill in the air. Others ventured out, just another day in the mountains, to brave the elements and warm the soul with the sounds of Leftover Salmon and Karl Denson. They played till the very end, honoring those concertgoers who stuck it out through the chill, the sleet, the rain, uphill both ways…

Saturday broke, and so did the fortnight or so of monsoon season. Sun was seen and felt, and beer and chili became a little more flavorful under a beautiful alpine afternoon. The first festival of the summer season hit its stride, and purveyors of quirky beer and alternative chili catered to some eager pallets.

My friend Heidi was pretty hungry. And she and I both fancy ourselves tough enough for exponential spiciness. So, when a friendly festgoer walked over and simply offered an extra cup of chili, we couldn’t believe our luck! Unfortunately, we missed "2008 Rolaids Heartburn Hot Chili Award Winner" sign, beneath which the chili was resting, just minutes before. It took a few seconds before our tongues hit the wall. We heard talk about a waiver, which other carnivores had signed before shoveling the devil’s fire into their bellies.

“Is this going to stop?” I asked her. We tried some Hop Diggity Pale Ale, which sounded soothing enough. The burning prevailed. Finally, I dipped my tongue in the Rolaids Chili’s super mild neighbor, letting it marinate in the non-spicy abyss for a few quiet minutes.

Heidi laughed and blew out some hot air, eyes watering: "Is my mascara running?”

Fire finally extinguished, we regained some courage and ventured over to the Flying Pig Brewery booth, from Aurora, Colorado. The Green Chili Roasted and Toasted Pale Ale rocked the palette, while the Leviathan IPA next door had a fine finish.

The sun came into its own, Fanny Hill overrun with Vitamin D-deprived locals, and visitors, grateful for a whole afternoon of reliable warmth and ready for a night of fine mountain music, courtesy of Particle, Michael Kang and Moe.

Those who endured the Friday night elements most definitely earned their lazy Saturday afternoon. With over 100 different brews and 30 international Chili Society Cooks, it was another fine welcome to the summer season. Rolaids not included.

Check out www.snowmassvillage.com for the next bout of summer fun.