On September 24 through 26, Denver will host the 33rd Annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF). The festival will be held at the Colorado Convention Center and promises to showcase more than 3,500 beers from over 740 breweries. Guinness World Records has recognized the GABF as having the largest selection of beers available at one time in history. This event is an incredible opportunity to try a mind-boggling amount of beers.
GABF began in 1982 and has grown incrementally each year since. The festival is hosted by the Brewers Association, a non-profit educational and trade organization devoted to making quality beer and brewing information available to everyone. The organization serves to protect American craft beer, brewing, and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association was largely responsible for lobbying states such as Alabama and Mississippi to become the final states to legalize home brewing.
Of the roughly 740 breweries featured (the number increases frequently), 155 of them are from Colorado, by far the largest showing from any state. Only one brewery from Colorado Springs is appearing, the beloved Bristol Brewing Company. Other Colorado favorites of mine include Great Divide Brewing Co. (Denver), Pikes Peak Brewing Co. (Monument), Epic Brewing Co. (Denver), Left Hand Brewing Co. (Longmont), Dry Dock Brewing Co. (Aurora), Odell Brewing Co. (Fort Collins), and Pug Ryan’s Brewing Co. (Dillon). Not only will these breweries be showcasing their usual selection of beers, each company has also been tasked with creating one or more new beers to be judged at the festival.
Whether you plan on going or not, other breweries worth checking out include: (512) Brewing Co (Austin, Texas), Deep Ellum Brewing Co (Dallas), Real Ale Brewing Co (Blanco, Texas), Boston Beer Co (Boston), Uintah Brewing Co (Salt Lake City), and Squatters Brewpub (Salt Lake City). I enjoy the beer from each of these companies. But if you go try as many 1-ounce samples as you can in order to bask in the diversity of beers offered.
If a beer festival sounds like your kind of thing, Denver is also hosting the Denver Beer Fest from September 18-26 to coincide with the Great American Beer Festival. The event will be hosted at 124 breweries throughout the Greater Denver Area and will include tastings and brewery tours. In contrast to the GABF, Denver Beer Fest will host a greater amount of niche microbreweries from Denver specifically.
Tickets to the Denver Beer Fest are still available, but tickets to the Great American Beer Festival are officially sold out. However, tickets are still available on alternative sites such as Craigslist. If you truly love beer, these festivals are not to