This year’s Great American Beer Festival was founded in 1982, the GABF was started by Charlie Papazian of Boulder.. The original GABF had 22 participating breweries, which had increased to over 700 at the 2014 festival and this year topped well over that amount. The GABF is the largest ticketed beer festival in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Both brewers and people will travel from all over to attend this three-day event, which takes place at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. Each day the crowd lines up in breathtaking numbers and once doors open, they flood in like cattle, some almost running to get to their favorite brewery. I found a few of my favorites while there, like a cinnamon toast crunch beer from Fretboard Brewing Company, and a coffee blonde ale from Florida Keys Brewing Company. There were just so many delicious flavors. Out of 4,000 beers and on Saturday morning, 102 were chosen as the best of the best! If you would like to know just who close to you made that list, you can click this link to find out if any of them happened to already be your favorite brew!
One of the most fun events I have had a chance to be a part of. On Friday, GABF encouraged everyone to come in costume and there were many that turned out for that but many people chose to dress in part throughout the whole weekend. I saw many on Saturday evening as well. We arrived that Saturday just before doors were set to open and about 15 min before Charlie Papazian was set to deliver the friend in beer award to Gov. John Hickenlooper. The award is in recognition of his contributions to, support of and storied history with the craft brewing community. A former geologist and entrepreneur, Hickenlooper co-founded Wynkoop Brewing Company, the first craft brewery in Denver. Papazian started GABF in 1982, and has been at the helm of the Brewers Association for decades. In January 2019, Charlie will exit the Brewers Association on his 70th birthday. Who knows who will be stepping up to run things once Charlie is gone but what a great run he had! Gov. Hickenlooper graciously accepted the award and told a little story of how he came to be in the brewing industry and how much he has loved every moment of it. He ended his speech with a toast to the crowd and to his pal Charlie. Hickenlooper then kicked off the final session of the weekend and the crowd was unleashed for the final time to get one last sip of their favorite brewers’ beer while they had the chance…. Until next year of course which you can mark the calendars for October 3-5, 2019 or click here to find out more.
Again, for another year, I have had a fabulous time. It is so great to taste all of the different flavors the brewers can come up with. I had the smoothest cherry sour all the way to a very hoppy IPA that was somehow smooth at the same time. I personally cannot wait until next year to see just how much more the festival can grow!
Hope you enjoyed the read and stay tuned to find out what is next in Xposer Magazine… where you go to be scene!
📷 Teddy G / Xposer Photography