At Keystone Festivals, we have amazing Colorado summer festivals. After 23 years, we know a thing about bluegrass and beer due to our Bluegrass and Beer festival that takes place on the first weekend of August.
First, let’s talk about what bluegrass music is and where you can see good bluegrass right here in Colorado. Then we will share some of our favorite bluegrass songs and pair those songs with delicious Colorado craft beers!
What is Bluegrass Music?
Bluegrass music can be traced back to the 1940’s in the Appalachian region of the US. Not surprisingly, bluegrass is named after the band “Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys.” We love the fusion of country and western with a string-band style that is prevalent in bluegrass music. Standardly, bluegrass embodies offbeat and acoustic stringed instruments like the banjo.
Where can I listen to Bluegrass music in Colorado?
- Red Rocks, Morrison CO
Colorado is known for the iconic music venue, Red Rocks. Each year, a handful of fantastic bluegrass bands play there! Check out their schedule and get the Red Rocks and bluegrass experience all in one.
- Bluegrass and Beer Festival, Keystone CO
If you want the combination of beer and bluegrass (who doesn’t?), then our festival is the one for you! We feature some big and some up and coming bluegrass bands in addition to 40+ craft breweries to delight your tastebuds and your ears!
- Telluride Bluegrass, Telluride CO
Telluride Bluegrass Festival is one of the ultimate Colorado bluegrass experiences with the top bluegrass musicians from all over in a gorgeous mountain setting. Tickets sell out fast, so make sure to get yours right when they go on sale!
- Music venues all over the state
Colorado is home to so many smaller and fun venues! Check each town you are staying in and look for bluegrass bands you love who may be playing at smaller venues or at another Colorado summer festival!
What 10 Colorado beers pair best with Bluegrass songs?
1 “Long Way to Go” by Railroad Earth
This upbeat bluegrass song from well-known Railroad Earth is an excellent example of the fun string music we love! We recommend the Hazy Ish IPA from Colorado brewery, Avery Brewing, to go along with this song. The beer isn’t bitter, just like the song!
2 “Gravity” by the Infamous Stringdusters
This upbeat love song is perfect for dancing in the driveway or at a festival with your loved one. The Infamous Stringdusters are one of our favorite bluegrass bands, so we picked one of our favorite beers to pair with it! The beer is Left Hand Brewery’s Wheels Gose’ Round.
3 “Atlantic City” Cover by Greensky Bluegrass
This classic song covered by Greensky Bluegrass is stunning. We love the laid back feel of the video and the entire group harmonizing during the song. We think Bruce Springsteen would be proud and would drink a Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues Brewery to go along with it!
4 “Rye Whiskey” by Punch Brothers
One of our all-time favorite bluegrass songs from recent years is “Rye Whiskey” from the Punch Brothers. If there was a song to drink to, this is it! The chorus of “oh, boy!” makes us feel like celebrating. We recommend Breckenridge Brewery’s Brewery Lane Series – Oak Aged Saison to go along with this song! Or just straight rye whiskey!
5 “High on a Mountain” by Del McCoury & The Dixie Pals
Del McCoury is one of the most respected bluegrass artists and is known as one of the founders of popular bluegrass. This song is what you think of when you think bluegrass and the fiddle shines so nicely throughout the song! To pay homage to this song and Del McCoury’s legend, we recommend the Slow Pour Pils from Bierstadt Lagerhaus.
6 “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show
Many artists have recreated the ever famous “Wagon Wheel,” but it was initially written and performed by Old Crow Medicine Show in 1973. They then added more verses almost 25 years later. We love the slightly fruity but easy drinking Apricot Blonde from Dry Dock to go with this song! You could even shake it up and try the Sour Apricot to change it up!
7 “I’ll Fly Away” By Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch
Two beautiful voices, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch sang together to create this wonderful song. It was made famous by the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” featuring George Clooney. This song has us imagining the beauty of the world, so we recommend Sippin’ Pretty from Odell Brewing Company to pair with it. It is a fruited sour that we think is great for summer activities.
8 “Brothers” by The Brothers Comatose
Bluegrass and Beer Festival future headliner Brothers Comatose are an awesome example of an up and coming bluegrass band we cannot get enough of! Their song “Brothers” is an excellent introduction to the band and vocals by lead singer Ben Morrison. We recommend a stout to go with this song, particularly the Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide.
9 “Blackbird” By Della Mae
If you haven’t heard of Della Mae, now is the time! They are a group of amazing women bluegrass artists and will be featured at Bluegrass and Beer as well! This song, “Blackbird,” really hits it out of the park! We would pair this song with the brand new Tart Delight Citrus Sour from Denver Beer Co.
10 “Wait So Long” by Trampled by Turtles
Last but not least, in the song and beer pairing is an excellent song from Trampled By Turtles. “Wait So Long” has a great fiddle solo and is catchy and fun to dance with your friends to at a festival or around the campfire. We have paired it with Epic Brewing’s boutique craft beer, Brainless® on Peaches Belgian-Style Ale.
We hope you like our bluegrass and beer song pairings! If you have any suggestions, please let us know! And remember, Keystone Festival’s Bluegrass and Beer Festival is the ultimate place to listen to bluegrass music while sipping on amazing craft beer.