Listen up, beer and music fans. It's the final countdown to the 21st annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, and while VIP passes are sold out, you can still get day, juke joint, camping, and Sunday Late Night tickets. If the thought of a 56-brewery Grand Tasting, headliners like the Violent Femmes, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Anders Osborne, and The Robert Cray Band, and late-night Juke Joints doesn't entice you, note that there's some cool new stuff added to this year's event. There's the Blues Stage, which will feature additional musical acts and comedian sets, and yoga sessions (what? a person's got to stay flexible in between beer binges). Read on for Curbed Ski's suggestions for surviving the weekend in style.
Lining your stomach is paramount at a beer festival, especially if you expect to remain coherent and awake until the wee hours. Caffeinate at The Steaming Bean, and get your AM carbs at Maggie's Bakery and Cafe (it's all about the breakfast sammy) or The Butcher & The Baker (featured in our best ski town bakeries and Where to Dine Outside guides). Lunch and dinner spots sure to hopping over the weekend: Oak...the New Fat Alley BBQ (you can't go wrong with the pulled pork and a bourbon-bacon shot); Smuggler's Brewpub (more about the beer than the food, fyi), and Honga's Lotus Petal (go early for Happy Hour, when a select roll and a Mojito will set you back a mere ten-spot.
There's no shortage of places to get your drink on in Telluride; it particularly excels in the dive bar realm. Besides the classic watering holes hosting Juke Joints on Friday and Saturday nights (note you'll need a ticket to enter) like the Elks Lodge and Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, belly up to The Last Dollar Saloon (aka "The Buck"), OB's (an acquired taste, but if you like the ski bum life, don't miss it), and the New Sheridan Hotel's adjacent historic bar. Not into slumming? The hotel's Parlor Bar and Chop House bar (featured in our Best Ski Town Hotel Bars) are both pretty sweet. You'll also want to hit Telluride Brewing Co., the bar at La Marmotte Restaurant (this local's fave has just a handful of seats, but it's clutch), and if you're feeling spendy, take the gondola up to Allred's for a brew with a view.
We can't lie: most of the properties in town are booked out; for last-minute rooms and rentals, go online to Telluride Lodging. But there's still ample camping in Town Park (Ground Zero for the festival and featured in our Best Campgrounds in Ski Country guide). There's also a special Campground Sessions stage; only registered campers can attend shows. If you're roughing it, though, be prepared for rain, and possibly a bit of early snow. There's also Airbnb, Couchsurfing.com, and (shhh) sleeping in your car. There are also campgrounds and lodging available outside of town, but there's a lack of nighttime public transit. It bears repeating: Please don't drink and drive.
Blues and Brewsing takes its toll. To revive, this year the festival introduces "Yoga Sessions," on Saturday and Sunday. If that's too much work, a hearty meal at local fave La Cocina de Luz does the trick (their popular made-to-order juice menu includes a blend called "Detoxify"). You can also down a Bloody Mary at the New Sheridan, sweat it out on a hike on the Jud Wiebe or Bear Creek trails, splurge on a facial or massage at Alpenglow Beauty, or drive an hour to Ouray Hot Springs.
· Dirtbags, PBRs and Shot Skis: The Best Ski Town Dive Bars [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Updated Beers or Bust: The Best Ski Town Breweries [Curbed Ski Archives]
· Presenting the Top 10 Ski Towns You Need to Visit This Winter [Curbed Ski Archives]