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The crowd listens to live music at the Rapids and Grass Beer Festival in Buena Vista in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Rapids and Grass Beer Festival)

The Great American Beer Festival each fall gets all the attention. And Colorado Beer Week in the spring is a popular celebration of the state’s craft beer scene. But the best month for beer in Colorado is June.

The arrival of the summer months serves as a clarion call for great beer festivals across Colorado. Often there are multiple options each weekend. But a handful are must-attend events that embrace the best of beer — and often the best of Colorado.

Here’s a look at four festivals where you can find great beer and great times in Colorado this June.

Oskar Blues’ Burning Can Festival is a celebration of the beer and the outdoors in Lyons, Colorado. (Photo courtesy of Oskar Blues)

Oskar Blues’ Burning Can Festival, June 1

Run in the beer relay. Watch dogs perform amazing tricks. Listen to live music. And watch a gigantic can burn. What more do you want? Oh yeah, there’s great beer, too.

Oskar Blues’ Burning Can Festival is pure entertainment, or “Rocky Mountain Revelry,” as the organizers put it. The June 1 event coincides with the Lyons Outdoor Games in the brewer’s original hometown and features a dirt bike competition, dog jumping contests, yoga and so much more.

The beer part is pretty impressive, too. More than 70 breweries are expected to attend this year, including all-stars like Brooklyn, Bell’s, 21st Amendment, Firestone Walker, Four Noses, Melvin, and Two Roads. Of course, the Canarchy Collective of breweries linked to Oskar Blues is pouring, too.

The beer festival runs three hours (or four, for VIP ticket-holders) and the burning of the can is at 9 p.m. There are camping options, too. More details here.

MORE: Oskar Blues thinks the future of craft brewing is in the collective

Avery Brewing’s new $30 million brewhouse includes a barrel room at its location north of Boulder. (John Frank, The Colorado Sun)

Avery Invitational and Anniversary Party, June 8

Avery Brewing in Boulder is an icon in the beer world. And a brewer with big ambitions after the sale of a majority of the company earlier this year to Spanish beer maker Mahou San Miguel.

Its reputation in the industry is what helps amplify its annual beer festival. The concept is simple: The Avery team makes a wish-list of the beer they want to drink, and they invite the brewers to pour at the festival hosted at their brewhouse in Boulder.

Hence, the name “invitational.” The result is a showcase of beer, often from brewers you can’t normally taste in Colorado, and endless options that will keep you thirsty for the five-hour event.

More than 70 breweries are expected and 200 different beers, including special tastings from barrels and samples from founder Adam Avery’s own cellar. This year’s event ups the game with seminars and live music.

The brewery list for the event includes Amalgam, Odd13 and Wiley Roots from Colorado; Bagby Beer, Russian River and Lost Abbey from California; Brewery Bhavana, Burial Beer and Fonta Flora from North Carolina; Creature Comforts from Georgia; and Short’s from Michigan. More details here.

BONUS: If you can’t score tickets to the Avery Invitational, the Lake Dillon Beer Festival is the same weekend. The event is held in collaboration with the Colorado Brewers Guild and features 35 of the state’s breweries. More details here.

MORE: A revamped Avery Brewing looks to keep its beer cred after 25 years

Lisa Nuss slides out a glass of WeldWerks Brewing’s award winning hefeweizen at the brewery in downtown Greeley. (Josh Polson, Special to The Colorado Sun)

WeldWerks Invitational Festival, June 22

The WeldWerks Invitational is like the cool kids table in the cafeteria. The beer festival features the most-hyped brewers and beers in the nation — including those from the host, WeldWerks Brewing, which is a cult-favorite itself for hazy IPAs and decadent stouts.

Now in its second year, the invitational takes place at a hotel in downtown Greeley. The event will include more than 40 brewers and 100 different beers, and there’s enough for everyone, an element that eliminates the mad scramble like other festivals for the hardest-to-find beers.

This year’s brewer list includes favorites from 2018 like American Solera, Casa Agria, Great Notion and The Veil, and newcomers like California’s Moksa and Florida’s 3 Sons.

Even with a $100 ticket price and two sessions, it sells out quickly. But if you can score a ticket from a friend or find one online, it’s worth the trip. More details here.

BONUS: The Vail Craft Beer Classic takes place the same weekend, June 21-23. It features a festival and plenty of special events, including events with brewers. More details here.

MORE: 130 new beers in one year? A Colorado brewery’s experiment led to an unexpected result

An overhead view of the Rapids and Grass Beer Festival along the Arkansas River in Buena Vista in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Rapids and Grass Beer Festival)

Rapids and Grass Beer Festival, June 28-30

If you want to find the most laid back beer festival experience in Colorado, it’s in Buena Vista at Rapids and Grass. Start Friday with a drink at Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar, one of the best in the state, then wander to the park along the Arkansas River for a concert. Then Camp overnight in a field within walking distance.

On Saturday, go for a hike or bike — or even a soak at nearby Mt. Princeton hot springs — but return in time for the beer festival at 2 p.m.

Take your time sipping, the beer tasting runs for hours — and there are no lines, even for great breweries like Black Project, Outer Range and Beachwood. It’s unlike any other. Listen to the live bluegrass music that goes for seven hours at the festival site and continues into the night at the Ivy Ballroom at the Surf Hotel.

And Sunday, finish the weekend with a leisurely river float through Class 3 rapids to a beach where you’ll find more beer and live music. What’s more Colorado than this festival? More details here.

John Frank is a former Colorado Sun staff writer. He left the publication in January 2021.