The Great American Beer 🍻🥂 Festival (GABF) is a three day annual festival. It is also known as Denver Beer Fest.
Typically happening in late September or early October, the festival is currently held inside the Colorado Convention Center, Denver, Colorado by the Brewers Association.
The Colorado Convention Center is a multi-purpose convention center, which is located in Downtown Denver, Colorado.
It is about 2,200,000 square feet and is the 12th largest convention center in the United States, opened in June, 1990.
Great American Beer Festival (GABF) 2016 event covered 400,000 square feet of the Colorado Convention Center and 60,000 attendees sampling 3,800 beers from 800 Unites States breweries.
Great American Beer Festival 2018 occupied nearly 584,000 square feet of the Colorado Convection Center, a 100,000 square foot increase from 2017.
The Brewers Association (BA) awarded 306 medals to 280 breweries across the United States at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) competition.
In a ceremony at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, award-winning breweries received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 102 beer categories covering 167 different beer styles (including all subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the country and earning a symbol of brewing excellence.
Great American Beer Festival was founded in 1982, started by Charlie Papazian in Boulder, Colorado.
It is listed as one of the top 1,000 places in United States, you should have to visit.
The GABF brings visitors from around the world to sample thousands of different American craft beers.
It has been evolving and growing along with the American craft brewing industry.
Great American Beer Festival (GABF) was voted No.1 beer festival in the country.
Hundreds of judges from United States and abroad evaluate beer in the associated competition.
Gold, silver and bronze medals in 161 beer style categories (as of 2017) are awarded.
But not every medal is necessarily awarded in each of the category.
2017 saw that it’s the biggest ever panel of judges with 276 beer experts representing 13 different nations.
Great American Beer Festival 2018 was the first year brewers that was placed alphabetically according to their name rather than grouped according to the state they come from.
The original Great American Beer Festival had 22 participating breweries, which had increased to over 700 at the 2014 festival.
The Great American Beer Festival is the largest ticketed beer festival in the United States and one of the largest festival in the world.
You can also buy Great American Beer Festival tickets online.
A highlight of the festival is that many of the beers are served by their brewers, giving attendees a chance to meet some of the U.S.’s biggest beer heroes.
Denver and the GABF are the perfect matchs.
It’s because it has nation’s largest brewpub (Wynkoop Brewing Company) and the highest number of home brewers.
The festival also features two competitions:
🔥 First, general competition. In this competition, a professional judging panel evaluates all entries during five three-hour sessions over three day period.
🔥 Second, a pro-am competition, in which the commercial craft brewers submit beers created from award-winning homebrew recipes from American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members.
GABF Statistics :
- 37th anniversary of the festival
- 584,000 square feet of festival hall
- 62,000 attendees
- Over 800 breweries in expanded festival hall
- 4,000+ beers served at the festival
- 4,086 volunteers (festival and competition combined)
Best breweries at Great American Beer Festival 2018:
Allagash Brewing (Portland, Maine): This is a beer geek favorite (BGF) that specializes in Belgian-style beers.
They are particularly known for their Allagash White.
Bale Breaker Brewing (Yakima, Wash.): Based in the region where most of the country’s hops are grown, this brewery that started in 2013 has become Washington’s fifth largest brewery and has become a favorite among brewers who regularly visit the area.
Captain Lawrence Brewing (Elmsford, N.Y.): This award-winning brewery specializes in Belgian-style beers and usually has some nice barrel-aged beers and sours.
Revolution Brewing Co: Chicago’s largest craft brewer is quickly building a national reputation, as people lined up for its Anti-Hero IPA.
Dogfish Head Brewing (Milton, Del.): If there is anyone who is considered a rock star among brewers it’s Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head, who has starred in reality TV shows about brewing. There is also usually a long line.
Evil Genius Brewing (Philadelphia, Pa.): You going to love a brewery with beers named “Whatever, make me a bicycle clown” hefeweizen and “Pics or it Didn’t Happen” IPA.
With names like those, it’s going to be great beer.
Firestone Walker (Pablo Rosa, Calif.): Another BGF. Firestone Walker is one of the most respected and awarded breweries in the country.
It has been named mid-sized brewery of the year multiple times in both the World Beer Cup and GABF. Definitely seek this one out.
Ghostfish Brewing (Seattle, Wash.): Three of the founders of this Seattle brewery are either gluten intolerant or have loved ones who are.
Their mission is to create the best gluten-free beer in America. Judging by their awards, they have succeeded.
Hop Butcher for the World (Darien, Ill.): With a name based on a Carl Sandberg poem, this is the current buzz on the Chicago beer scene.
Icarus Brewing Co. (Lakewood, N.J.): Craft beer and Jersey may not be synonymous.
But this brewery is consistently getting good marks on RateBeer, Beer Advocate and Untapped rating sites.
J. Wakefield (Miami, Fla.): Also a fan favorite. This Miami brewery is known for its Berliner Weisse heretofore dubbed the Florida Weiss.
It is exactly what you would think, a tart, funky beer with tropical fruit flavors.
Kane Brewing (Ocean, N.J.): Another Jersey brewery. This one is particularly revered for its Head High IPA.
New Glarus (New Glarus, Wisc.): Another BGF with Spotted Cow being its flagship. Also check out Noble Ale Works in this zone.
Offshoot (Placentia, Calif.): This is an “offshoot” of the BGF The Bruery, which specializes in hop-forward beers, such as IPAs and double IPAs.
Ladyface Ale Companie (Agoura Hills, Calif.): Ladyface is known for their award-winning Belgian, French and American style ales.
Modern Times (San Diego, Calif.): This is an exceptional brewery in one of the country’s hottest craft beer zones.
Their selection at GABF never disappoints.
Pfriem Family Brothers (Hood River, Ore.): Take it from Willamette Week, Portland’s alt-weekly, when it calls Pfriem the best brewery in Oregon.
Quarter Celtic Brewpub (Albuquerque, N.M.): Frankly, this is the only Q-lettered brewery pouring. Beer Advocate gives it a good ranking.
The Rare Barrel (Berkeley, Calif.): Another BGF. This is an all-sour brewery. And they have perfected the craft.
Three Floyds Brewing Co. (Munster, Ind.): Yes, there will be lines. The flagship and most talked about beer is the Zombie Dust IPA. And that is what everyone will be trying.
Societe Brewing Co. (San Diego, Calif.): And another BGF. This brewery focuses on hoppy and Belgian beers. If it’s there, try The Pupil or really any of their beers.
Une Anne (Niles, Ill.): This Chicago-area 15 barrel brewery focuses on Belgian and French beers and is one of those small-time breweries with beers that you probably won’t see in Colorado any time soon.
Von Trapp Brewing Co. (Stowe, Vt.): Yes, it’s a brewery affiliated with the clan that is the basis of “The Sound of Music.”
But they are one of Vermont’s biggest and best breweries.
Wild Barrel (San Marcos, Calif.): Only open about a year, this SoCal brewery is the new project by the high-profile beer expert Bill Sysak, who was Stone Brewing’s beer ambassador.
Yachats Brewery (Yachats, Ore.): Charlie Van Meter left award-winning Logsdon Farmhouse Ales to start this tiny brewery on Oregon’s Coast. And now this gives you another reason to visit the Oregon Coast.
Zwanzigz Brewing (Columbus, Ind.): What a great name. But the beer is great too. This brewery won best small brewpub and small brewer of the year at the 2016 GABF.