When a beer festival has “great” in the name, you know there’s got to be something special about it. The Great American Beer Festival is no exception to that. Each October in the city of Denver, America’s most extensive craft beer event takes place, lasting for three days and bringing thousands of beers to the public. It is considered by many to be the best beer festival in the entire U.S.
The festival was founded in 1982 and has been growing steadily ever since. Now, a sold out crowd of 49,000 arrives every year to participate. More than 2000 beers are on tap, though you’ll be tasting them in shot-sized, one-ounce glasses as opposed to quaffing down pints. These brews come from nearly 500 different breweries across the country and compose the largest assortment of U.S. beers served at any single event.
In addition to the beer tasting, which is no doubt the highlight of the festival, there are some other things to enjoy while attended GABF. Competitions take place, awarding prizes of gold, silver and bronze to various beers in a variety of different style. There is plenty of food to help ease the massive amounts of drinking that you’ll be doing as well. Each of the three days has a session that runs from 5:30 to 10pm.
The GABF is by far one of the best beer events for those who wish to try a maximum number of beers from the most regions of the U.S. in the shortest amount of time. It has become a bit commercial, however. Each session costs around $65 and the crowds are wall-to-wall. Tickets are so popular that they have been selling out within an hour of going on sale in recent years. Hotels in the area fare no better.
This year, the event is from October 11th to the 13th, but it is already well past being sold out. Next year the dates are the 10th to the 12th, but you’d better jump online the minute they begin to go on sale, or you’re likely to miss it for sure. With any luck, they’ll expand the event in the future so that more people can enjoy this huge feast of amazing craft beers.