The Great American Beer Festival went down this past weekend Denver, Colorado. With over 800 breweries and 3,500 beers, the event represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served in the format of a public tasting and competition. Since its launch in 1982, the festival has grown along with the craft beer industry to be the U.S. festival to go to. It’s so large in fact that there are four different sessions you can attend. Four. Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening. Even better, the whole town of Denver has beer events going on all weekend.
We were the ground in Denver to hit all three days of the festival, and did our best to make it through all 3,500 beers. We got things started early Wednesday night at an East vs. West IPA showdown, and then moved on to Oskar Blues Ordeal at its Longmont facility Thursday afternoon before going to the Thursday evening session. In summary: we put a solid dent in that 3,500 goal. We even drank one poured by one of the Hanson brothers.
Check out the gallery for a taste of this year’s epic event.
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Like many beer festivals, brews at GABF were served in 1oz sizes, so you could enjoy a ton and still be standing.
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A Wednesday evening "East vs. West" IPA showdown at Falling Rock tap house in Denver was so packed you could hardly make it through the crowd.
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Thursday afternoon we made a trip to Oskar Blues' Longmont brewery.
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So many cans just waiting to be filled.
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Many larger breweries had endcaps at the festival where they built massive bar-like structures.
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New Belgium's booth had a revolving NBB at the top.
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Funky Buddha was exceptionally popular and ran out of beer at every session this year, seemingly only an hour or so in.
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In the middle of the show floor there was a Food and Beer Pavillion where attendees could attend 30 minute sessions covering a beer and food pairing. This particular session paired together Shandys and Ice Cream.
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Wicked Weed from Asheville, North Carolina had a number of different sours on tap for each session.
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The American Cheese Society's booth was more popular than many of the breweries booths that attended this year. You could walk through the booth and score a full plate of cheese, a nice snack between tastings.