If you go

What: Third Lafayette Craft Brew & BBQ Festival

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6

Where: Atlas Valley, 95th and Arapahoe, Lafayette

Tickets: $25 advance, $30 at the gate

Info: ymcabv.org

What: Lafayette Brew Fest

When: 1 pm.-6 p.m. Sept. 13

Where: Lafayette Marketplace, 400 W. South Boulder Road, Lafayette

Tickets: Free admission; beer samples sold by the pour

Info: lafayettecolorado.com, 303-666-9555

Lafayette will be a focus of Boulder County's beer scene as two different craft-beer festivals set up shop over two consecutive weekends.

First up is the third Lafayette Craft Brew & BBQ Festival, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday in the Atlas Valley Shopping Center. Attendees can sample beers from more than 30 local breweries, as well as barbecue from more than 10 vendors during the family-friendly event. Tickets, $25 in advance or $30 at the gate, include unlimited samples of both beer and barbecue. A barbecue-only sampling ticket and children's ticket options also are available. Proceeds benefit the YMCA of Boulder Valley scholarship fund and the Boulder Rotary Club.

The following Saturday, Sept. 13, the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce will host the inaugural Lafayette Brew Fest from 1 to 6 p.m. in the Lafayette Marketplace behind Jax Mercantile on South Boulder Road. In lieu of an entrance fee, patrons ages 21 and older can purchase $2 tokens for beer samples sold in 4-ounce increments from a variety of local breweries. Food and vendor booths, live music by Chris Daniels & the Kings and a homebrew demonstration by Lafayette Homebrew Supply also highlight the fest. Proceeds will be used to help fund Chamber events.

"Lafayette is quickly becoming one of the higher-density areas for breweries," said Davin Helden, co-owner of Liquid Mechanics Brewing Co., which opened Aug. 16 in Lafayette and will be pouring at both festivals.

Helden said Liquid Mechanics participated in both the Erie Brew Fest and Front Range Rally in Loveland before the brewery even opened its tasting room. He believes beer festivals are a great way to promote the business and local craft breweries in general, which collectively serve as a draw for the area.

"Our favorite beer fests are ones that benefit charity," he said. "Generally they're fun, community-oriented events where people can sample a wide variety of beers, and we get a chance to socialize with guests and with our fellow brewers."

Andra Coberly, Communications Specialist with YMCA of Boulder Valley, which is organizing this weekend's Lafayette Craft Brew & BBQ Festival, likes to stay up-to-date with the latest brewery and restaurant openings but admits that, with so many, it's difficult to try them all.

"There are breweries on our list that I haven't had a chance to try yet — like Pug Ryan's and Odyssey Beerwerks," she said. The festival, Coberly said, "is a great opportunity for residents to sample newer, smaller breweries all in one place. That's what's really cool about beer festivals and, I think, why you see so many of them."

Pat Vero, special events coordinator for the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, which is hosting the Lafayette Brew Fest on Sept. 13, said she was inspired by the proliferation of breweries in eastern Boulder County, especially in creating the event — including Liquid Mechanics, The Post Brewing Co., Front Range Brewing and Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette, as well as breweries in Louisville and in surrounding communities.

"We wanted to showcase all the different smaller breweries, which have just exploded over the last few years," Vero said. By giving people the option to purchase individual 4-, 8- or 12-ounce pours and sample as little or as much as they like, she also hopes to "create a street-fair type festival that will bring in people who might not normally go to a brew fest, as well as people who love sampling a variety of beers."

"We were also cautious about the timing and made sure that it's not held the same weekend (as the Lafayette Craft Brew & BBQ Festival)," she said. "I think we're going to get different kinds of people at each, as well as some overlap."

"It's still summer and people are still in a beer-drinking frame of mind," Helden said. "I hope people go to both."

Gravity turns 2

Gravity Brewing will celebrate its second anniversary with a bash from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday in the brewery's tasting room, 1150 Pine St., Louisville. Live music and special tappings of barrel-aged and small-batch beers on the hour, every hour, highlight the festivities. Get more info at thegravitybrewing.com.

Contact Tom Wilmes at boulderbeerguy@gmail.com.