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Everything You Need to Know About the Great American Beer Festival

The Guinness Book of World Records claims there is no other place on earth where a beer aficionado can find more beers on tap. It’s been named one of the top 1,000 places in the country to visit before you die. For us, the Great American Beer Festival sounds like paradise. 

Every fall, craft brewers from around the country, and visitors from around the world, gather to celebrate the best that American beer has to offer. There’s a reason the Great American Beer Festival is the “premier U.S. beer festival and competition.”

For beer lovers that have never attended, it’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience. But tickets sell out fast. So you better start planning for next year’s event now! While you’re waiting for next year, however, here’s everything you need to know about the GABF.

What is the Great American Beer Festival?

The Great American Beer Festival is the American brewing industry’s annual three day event celebrating all things beer. It’s hosted by the Brewers Association and held in Denver, Colorado every fall. The GABF is the largest beer festival in the United States.

So what happens at the Great American Beer Festival?

How does sampling thousands of beers sound? That’s what the tens of thousands of festival attendees can see, along with chances to meet these dedicated brewers, learn about the beer brewing process, and witness beer competitions between the country’s top brewers and homebrewers. There’s also demonstrations on craft beer and food pairings, games, even a silent disco.

How long has the Great American Beer Festival been around?

The GABF started in 1982 by Charlie Papazian, the current president of the Brewers Association. In its first iteration, the festival was held at the Harvest House Hotel in Boulder. There were 24 breweries, 47 beers and 800 attendees. The GABF moved to Denver in 1984. Since then, it has grown exponentially, along with the craft brewing industry.

Who attends the Great American Beer Festival?

Over 800 breweries will be in attendance for this year’s festival. The GABF will attract over 60,000 people over the three day event, tasting and talking craft beer.

That’s a lot of thirsty people. How many beers will be there?

3,900 beers. But don’t worry. There will be plenty of water to keep them hydrated.

That must be a typo. Almost 4,000 beers?! How do they decide which beer is the best?

A beer competition of course.

Sounds fun. What’s this beer competition all about?

It’s not just any beer competition. Starting in 1987, this is the world’s largest commercial beer competition, judging 8,100 beers from more than 2,250 breweries in 96 categories. Beers are judged by an international panel of 283 judges from 14 countries. Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to the top three beers in each category. One could argue that this is the ultimate beer Olympics.

Gold Medal Beers Deserve the Perfect Beer System

Brewing medal-winning beers is an art form. Designing the perfect beer system is no different. Read the Art and Science of a Perlick Beer System and learn the key components to a balanced beer system and how that translates to a more profitable bar and beverage program.

art and science of beer systems