Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival Announces Featured Brewmasters

By AlpineZone News |
Jul 01 2011 - 11:28 AM

Vail, Co-June 29, 2011-The founders of the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival held each January in Vail, Co. have announced the two featured brewmasters for the upcoming 12th annual event. John Mallet, production manager of Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI and Todd Usry, brewmaster and director of operations for the Breckenridge Brewery in Breckenridge, Co. will be the featured co-hosts for many of the events.

John Mallet of Bell’s Brewery has been the production manager for the Kalamazoo, Michigan brewery since 2001. His twenty-year history in the brewery industry includes leading Boston’s Commonwealth Brewery as Head Brewer, and Brewmaster at the Old Dominion Brewing Company in Ashburn, Virginia. He is also the founder and former president of SAAZ, an equipment and service provider for breweries both large and small. Highlighting Mallet’s passion for the world of beer, he serves on the Master Brewers Association of the Americas committee, the Brewer’s Association and the American Malting Barley Association, Inc. In 2002, Mallet was the recipient of the Institute for Brewing Studies Russell Schehrer Award for Brewing Innovation.
Bell’s Brewery is a highly regarded and creative brewery, known for its bold, unfiltered bottle-conditioned beers. Since its founding in 1983 by Larry Bell, it has garnered numerous medals and accolades. Its 2007 production of over 90,000 barrels ranked it among the top fifteen producers of American craft breweries. Additionally, visitors to the Bell’s Brewery location can enjoy the various beer types at the Eccentric Cafe and General Store, offering light fare and beers that can only be found on-site, as well as live music on selected nights.

Like Mallet, Todd Usry of the Breckenridge Brewery also has a twenty-year history devoted to the brewing industry. During his first years with the Breckenridge Brewery, Usry completed his brewing studies at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and his apprenticeship under a Canadian brewmaster. Usry’s current dual role at the Breckenridge Brewery as brewmaster/director of brewing operations now also includes a third role as head of sales and marketing, reflecting his devoted passion for his vocation. During his career with the Breckenridge Brewery, the company has grown in production from 3,000 barrels per year to 30,000 barrels. The brewery, located in the quaint resort town of Breckenridge, and now with sister locations in the Denver Metro area, is ranked as the 45th largest craft brewery in the United States. The company distributes its beer to twenty-five states and employs several hundred people in its breweries and signature restaurants. More information on the Breckenridge Brewery is located on
The Featured Brewmaster designation is a rotating honor that is bestowed upon invitation by the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival. Usry and Mallett will co-host the Traditional Brewmaster’s dinner on Friday night during the festival weekend and each will offer an individual Brewmaster’s seminar on the brewing topic of his choice. They will be headlining the event alongside Adam Avery, founder and brewmaster of the Avery Brewing Company and Sam Calagione, founder and president of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, who annually co-host the Calibration dinner to usher in Big Beers Festival weekend.

For information about tickets, schedules and much more, please visit . Sign up for the 12th Annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival Weekend and come to Vail to experience the event that beer connoisseurs are raving about. Homebrewers, Professional Brewers and Industry Gurus alike speak highly with regard to the unique format, the unusual international collection of beers, the organization and the overall quality of the event.
For those of you who are Big Beers Festival veterans, this 12th Anniversary celebration promises to live up to your previous experiences and take it one step further. Look forward to more goodies from Chef Votaw at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, calibrate with Dogfish Head and Avery, enjoy special features by featured brewmasters, and sample over 200 amazing creations by breweries from around the globe.

The Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival is a three day event featuring educational
seminars, two Brewmasters dinners, a Commercial Tasting, a homebrew competition and other tastings and pairings. Designed to welcome the beer connoisseur, the innovative homebrewer, or the novice taster, participants will find events appropriate for all levels of interest.
The festival regularly draws breweries from around the world offering literally hundreds of choices. The beer & food pairing competition is a popular option as well as the Cicerone
Workshop, a program similar to the Sommelier designation in the world of wine.
Additionally, the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival actively supports the efforts of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, a local organization that helps individuals who live and work in the Vail Valley that have critical financial need due to medical catastrophes, accidents or long-term illnesses. For more information about the VVCF, visit Contact Big Beers,
Barleywines Festival at and follow the event on facebook.