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Beer and wine garden spotlights local products

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This Cherry Days, enjoy a variety of locally-produced beverages at the Beer & Wine Garden at Paonia Town Park. "This year we're helping to launch Paonia United Brewing Co.," said Cherry Days 4-Ever beer and wine garden coordinator Sheree Fisher. Formerly Revolution Brewing, owners Kit and Mike DeJager will offer an IPA, a Porter, and an Amber Ale, all made in small batches.

The garden will also feature beers from 4B's Brewery, a small, family owned microbrewery at the foot of Grand Mesa in Cedaredge that taps into the family's German heritage. Selections include Grand Mesa Blonde (a smooth blonde, lightly hopped beer), Highway 65 Amber, and Black Swede. "It's a stout and it's phenomenal," said Fisher. Their products were featured at last fall's Mountain Harvest Festival, said Fisher. "They were such a hit that I wanted them to experience Cherry Days."

It wouldn't be Cherry Days without Big B's hard ciders, including Cherry Daze. Created four years ago when Big B's made its first Cherry Days Festival appearance, Cherry Daze is a semi-sweet hard cider with a bold and refreshing apple taste. There's also the amazingly crisp Lazy Daze Lemonade, "a perfect marriage between dry cider, sweet and tart lemonade," and either the Orchard or Harvest Apple hard cider.

This year's featured wine is Rob Kimball's 5680 Vineyards Cherry Wine. "His cherry wine is to die for," said Fischer. Made with tart pie cherries, Kimball describes his cherry wine as "sweet." Because it's made in small batches and sells out quickly, "It's just for summertime," says Kimball.

As Cherry Days beer and wine garden coordinator, Fischer takes copious notes on what works and what doesn't, and listens to what people say. Based on past comments, the garden will also offer a Pinot Gris from Brent and Karen Helleckson's Stone Cottage Cellars; and for red wine enthusiasts, Alfred Eames' Collage, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes.

Non-alcoholic beer is also available, "one of the little touches that came from feedback," says Fisher.

The Beer & Wine Garden is located near the gazebo stage and perfect for enjoying the many live acts that will be performing July 3 and 4. By law, alcohol must stay within the fenced perimeter. Anyone under 21 coming within the fenced area must be accompanied by an adult family member and may not consume alcohol. The garden has the right to refuse to serve anyone, and no silliness is allowed, said Fischer. "We have zero tolerance."

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