The Great American Beer Festival sold out on the first day tickets were on sale for the sixth consecutive year in a row. There were 60,000 in attendance over the weekend.
The Great American Beer Festival is known in the United States for bringing all of the top brewers to one location so that the general public has the opportunity to experience beer that they may have never had the opportunity to taste before. Each year, GABF showcases the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served. Including a private competition, GABF creates a fun environment for all the attendees to enjoy the world of craft beer.
Founded in 1982 by Charlie Papazian, GABF has been growing and evolving since day one. Originally starting with only 22 participating breweries, by 2014 the number had increased to 700+ and now boasts a whopping over 900 brewers! Held in Denver, Co, the festival tends to sell out every year. Over 100 judges evaluate the beer, ultimately judging several thousand beers entered by the hundreds of breweries. With 92 beer style categories, you could imagine how the competition could get. GABF has certainly become the destination of choice for craft beer lovers across the United States.
Walking around the venue, I was even a bit overwhelmed but enjoyed my experience fully. Even with 3 days of walking around, I still don’t think I was able to taste test every single one. From blondes to wheats to sours and IPA’s, this place was a mecca for tasty delights. I tend to go for more fruity blends of strawberries, blackberries, peach and apricot but above and beyond, my favorite was a blueberry beer that tasted like blueberry muffin. Of course there were some of Colorado’s favorite spots there showcasing their amazing blends such as Breckenridge brewery, Left Hand, Great Divide, Ratio Beerworks and few of my personal favs, Colorado Plus, Ironworks and Caution Brewery. One of the most amazing sights was the newly added section devoted to actual live brewing. With a brewers Studio and a Homebrew Marketplace, this was a huge hit among the attending crowd. One of the more fun aspects of the show was seeing all of the homemade pretzel necklaces that were hanging around the necks of many people walking around. I was lucky enough to obtain one of these coveted necklaces for my own adventure through the festival and boy, did it come in handy. When tasting all of these fabulous creations, I realized having this mix of salty and sweet was the perfect addition to help get me through this amazing experience. Some were small and some were big but mine was a most epic one indeed. Including beef sticks, cheese sticks, cheetos, pretzels and life savers, it was like my best friend while having fun. I would highly recommend this trick for all future GABF events to everyone who plans on attending. My necklace was certainly large but I managed to devour it before the night was over.
All in all, this was an extremely fun event which gives you a very all-around unique experience. I would highly encourage others to come out and attend this event next year. The dates have already been released so get your tickets early before they sell out again! The next GABF will be September 20-22 2018, so mark your calendars now.
If you happen to be interested in just which breweries managed to take home coveted spots in the competition, you can find a list of the winners by Clicking Here
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Photos by Teddy G Xposer Photography