If you have a love for hops and tasty craft-brewed adult beverages, then no doubt you’ve heard of The Great American Beer Festival, an event put on by the Brewer’s Association which has become the largest and best known of its kind.
The Great American Beer Festival is the premier U.S. beer festival and competition. Each year, GABF represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served, in the format of a public tasting event plus a private competition. GABF brings together the brewers and beers that make the U.S. the world’s greatest brewing nation. This event showcases the diverse beers that make craft brewing one of the fastest-growing segments of the beer, wine and spirits industry. GABF was founded in 1982, and has been growing and evolving along with the American craft brewing industry ever since. The Great American Beer Festival is listed as one of the top 1,000 places in the U.S. to visit before you die.
The list of brewers represented is mind-boggling — just under 500 of them! Last year over 2,375 different beers were served in the festival hall, and according to Guinness Book of World Records “there is no other place on earth where a beer aficionado can find more beers on tap.”
No festival with so many brews gathered in one place would be complete without a competition, and that’s exactly what will be happening October 10 – 12, before the public is allowed to enter.
84 categories of beer will be judged in 2012, covering 135 beer styles, as well as the GABF Pro-Am.
To give you an idea of how serious this completion is, here are some 2011 stats:
526 breweries representing 48 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico entered.
96 breweries were first-time entrants.
3,930 beers were entered in the 2011 competition (an 11 percent increase from 3,523 in 2010).
Festival Highlights and beer education areas inside the hall include:
Craft Beer & Food Pavilion – Enjoy multiple demonstrations throughout the festival, in which chefs and brewers alike discuss the art of cooking with craft beer as well as how to pair with beer to make the perfect meal.
Farm To Table Pavilion – Join chefs, and small and independent brewers as they discuss and pair craft beer with dishes created with locally grown ingredients. Additional ticket required.
Brewer’s Studio Pavilion – With beer that tastes so good, there must be an even better story behind it! The Brewer’s Studio gives festival goers the opportunity to listen to the brewers themselves as they wax philosophical on a variety of subjects as well as share their stories and beers.
The sixth annual GABF Pro-Am Competition – Entries are brewed by professional craft brewers based on award-winning homebrew recipes from American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members. Homebrew recipes are scaled up and brewed at a craft brewery for submission into the GABF Pro-Am competition.
Support Your Local Brewery Pavilion sponsored by CraftBeer.com – Learn about individual states’ beer culture and try the rare beers showcased by the guilds which are unavailable anywhere else at the festival. Nine states will be represented. Enjoy displays of malt, hops, brewing equipment and more!
Brewers Publications Bookstore – This area features books on every aspect of brewing, from style, technique and history to cooking, pairing and serving beer with food. Sample copies will be available and special book signings will be offered.
You Be The Judge Booth – Evaluate a beer with a BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) or GABF Competition beer judge.
The Silent Disco – Always a crowd favorite, the Silent Disco gives dancers the chance to dance to music only they and the other disco dancers can hear through wireless headphones. Fun for dancers and spectators alike!
Kev and I have been talking about attending the festival and writing about the experience for several years, and it’s time! Will we see you in Denver? Last year the GABF sold out in a week … so if you are interested, have your credit card ready for Thursday, 10am MDT!