The Insider’s Guide to the FoCo Book Fest

The FoCo Book Festival, Brewin’ Up Books, will make its debut in Old Town Fort Collins on Saturday, October 22, and is expected to attract visitors from throughout the state. The inaugural festival will host 50 authors and presenters in nearly 40 sessions during the free, day-long event.

Brewin’ Up Books’ diverse mix of presentations, discussions, readings, workshops, and other sessions are sure to satisfy curious book and brew lovers alike!

The full schedule and program lineup can be found online at including information on the headliner panel, “The Books that Made Me.”

Wherever you decide to go, be sure to share your experience with us! Use the hashtags – #FoCoBookFest and #FoCoBooks – when you post photos or updates to your social media.

Now, if you’re looking for something to quench a specific thirst, may we recommend a few ideas?

For the Eclectic Experience

fcbf_icons_beer-tileWant to blend all of the various authors and themes into a beautiful mix? Then check out the sessions that feature voices from beer, coffee, tea, and the literary arts.

The evening headliner panel, “The Books that Made Me,” examines inspiring and influential books and authors while “The Ethics of Brewing” looks at its topic from the perspective of coffee, tea, and beer insiders.

And be sure to check out “The Muses: Beverages that Inspire Writing” – at Downtown Artery, one of eight festival venues – as award-winning writers come together to explore creativity.

For the Craft Beer Enthusiast

fcbf_icons_beerIf you’re a fan of craft beer then this is the event for you! Brewing rock stars like Peter Bouckaert (Brew Master, New Belgium Brewing), Dick Cantwell (author and beer ambassador), Horst Dornbusch (international beer expert), and Doug Odell (founder of Odell Brewing) will join others to discuss topics like “How to Brew Beer,” “Beer, Books, and What Makes Us Human,” and “Cooperage: Wood and Beer.”

Two can’t- miss presentations examine the art, craft and science behind beer as well as the art of malting. Stay afterward to learn about Colorado beers, brewers, and hikes with Ed Sealover and Emily Hutto.

Still thirsty? New Belgium Brewery is producing the tentatively-named FoCo Book Fest Read My Lips, a small-batch release special to the book festival. Pints will be available all day at the brewery while supplies last.

For the Coffee Devotee

fcbf_icons_coffeeIf you’re the type of person who immediately thinks of coffee when you hear someone talk about “brewing,” then the coffee-related authors and presentations will fill your cup to the brim.

Not only will there be coffee brewing demonstrations at Bean Cycle Roasters, there will also be informative presentations by caffeine folks like Mark Pendergrast and Chris Schooley. They’ll examine thought-provoking topics like “Caffeine and World Change” and “The Ethics of Brewing.”

Then, on a lighter note, visit with local author Karla Oceanak and illustrator Allie Ogg who will be on hand with their parody book for coffee lovers, Good Morning Brew (and also with Goodnight Brew, a parody for beer drinkers).

Plus, roasters at Bean Cycle Roasters have crafted a special brew just for the book festival available onsite and at Wolverine Farm Publick House. Enjoy a cup of Book Buzz 641.3373 as you make your way around Old Town and the book fest presentations. The special batch coffee will be available the week of the book fest and on the event day.

For the Tea Aficionado

fcbf_icons_teaPeople’s dedication to their cup of tea is as bright and complex as the many varieties available around the world. The FoCo Book Fest captures that complexity with presenters like tea entrepreneur Joseph Uhl and Happy Lucky’s Teahouse owner and chief leafster George Grossman. Both speakers will offer insight into the history of tea and how to craft that perfect cup through presentations and interactive classes.

Additionally, Grossman’s team at Happy Lucky’s Teahouse has created a special blend specifically for the book fest. Stop in during the day to relax in between book fest sessions and enjoy a cuppa Free Verse Cinnaplum black tea.

For the Literature Lover

fcbf_icons_bookAuthor readings are a highlight of any good book festival, and Brewin’ Up Books delivers with five different readings showcasing 20 fiction, nonfiction, and poetry voices. Additionally, Katrina Roberts, an award-winning poet, will be featured at various presentations, readings, and panel discussions throughout the event.

Bas Bleu Theatre will host two fiction/nonfiction readings: “Fermented Truth,” a collection from Fort Collins writers Laura Pritchett, Laura Resau, Vauhini Vara, and Denver essayist Sarah Hahn Campbell; and “New Brews” with works by CSU creative writing faculty members Andrew Altschul, Harrison Fletcher, E.J. Levy, and Todd Mitchell.

Over at Wolverine Farm you can drink in poetry readings from “The Stouts,” CSU professors Dan Beachy-Quick, Matthew Cooperman, Camille Dungy, and Sasha Steensen, and then stick around to hear current and former Fort Collins Poet Laureates Michael Bussman, Aby Kaupang, Jason Hardung, and Chloe Leisure.

For the Writer

fcbf_icons_bookThe book festival not only brings authors to you, but it provides the opportunity to learn from them through free writing workshops held throughout the day at Old Town Library. Each writing workshop requires advanced registration by calling 221-6740 or visiting the Library’s online events calendar.

Fiction writers can start the day with Laura Resau and the “Creating Dazzling Worlds” and end the day with “Characters in Conflict” hosted by Debbie Vance and Emily Ziffer.

Poets will find Aby Kaupang’s workshop, “Undraw the Line: writing through erasure, effacement and insubordination” particularly interesting as they take brushes and scissors to the page to fabricate their own poems from borrowed materials and texts.

Nonfiction and fiction writers can enjoy Laura Pritchett’s workshop, “Love the Outdoors? Write it,” examining contemporary nature writing.

For the Book Collector

fcbf_icons_bookEach author will participate in book signings, an opportunity for festivalgoers to purchase a copy of their book (or bring their own copy from home) and interact one-on-one with the author, including Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Anyone interested in attending Gov. Hickenlooper’s book signing can pre-purchase his book or purchase one onsite during the reception. Only attendees with books to sign are allowed to stand in the reception line.

Books can be purchased prior to the festival and on the day of the event at Old Firehouse Books. The bookstore will also have a remote store set up at New Belgium Brewery for people to purchase books that day.


There’s no one right way to experience FoCo Book Fest, and our recommendations certainly don’t cover every available option or speaker. To review the entire day’s schedule, and learn about individual authors and presenters, be sure to visit the festival website:

Printed programs will be available at each venue on the day of the event. You can also download a copy from the website.

See you at Brewin’ Up Books! Cheers!


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