On a basic level, it doesn’t take much set-up to pour brews at a beer festival. A participating brewery generally needs a table, ice and a serving apparatus like a jockey box. Signage probably helps a bit too, since you want attendees to know what you’re serving, but that’s pretty much it. At the Great American Beer Festival, each of the 800 breweries get a designated space to serve their respective offerings, and most of them take the basic approach, which hopefully lets the beer do the talking.
For some breweries, the annual celebration of American suds takes on the appearance of a competitive suburban neighborhood during the holidays, as companies try to one-up each other in the décor department. From corrugated metal and string lights to vintage trailers and fire pits, here are some of the best booths from the 2016 Great American Beer Festival.
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It's still possible to have a great booth without the prominent endcap space that some of the featured brewers get. Case in point, the people at Beachwood Brewing tricked out their space with a decorating scheme that's a perfect fit for the Long Beach brewery.
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Naturally, the world's first cannabis-infused beer would come out of Colorado. When in Rome.
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Gordon Biersch brought fall foliage into the Colorado Convention Center with this autumnal booth.
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The booth for Hanson Brothers Brewing might seem ordinary until you realize that they decided to decorate it with one of the members of the late-90s boy band. To the delight of many, Zac Hanson poured his brewery's flagship Mmmhops pale ale and posed for pictures.
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New Belgium Brewing might be one of the larger entities of the craft community, but their eclectic booth with Googie-inspired rotating N-B-B letters is certainly an eye-catcher.
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New Holland and Carhartt partnered up to outfit this 1947 Spartan trailer with 20 taps and a lounge.
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The second trailer-themed booth is courtesy of Destihl Brewery. This one comes complete with a backyard setup with picnic benches, fake grass and a fire pit.
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It's impossible to walk by Real Ale Brewing Company's booth without stopping to take a look at the distressed metal cage that encloses the area.
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In past years, Sierra Nevada's booth has been over the top with vehicles and other components. They've dialed things back a bit this year with a neighborhood bar design that's still very inviting.
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Ska Brewing slings brews like Mexican Logger and Mole Stout from the inside of a two-tone "Hall of Justice."