Great American Beer Festival 2018

Wednesday, September 05, 2018


For the 37th consecutive year, craft beer fanatics will congregate at the Colorado Convention Centre from September 20-22, 2018 for the renowned Great American Beer Festival (GABF).  This will be my first time attending the festival/competition, and it’ll certainly be crossed off my bucket list.

I know it sounds a bit crazy to travel to Denver for a craft beer festival, but I can assure you that this isn’t any ordinary craft beer festival.  It is actually the largest ticketed beer festival in the United States and this year’s event will offer 62,000 attendees the opportunity to sample over 4,000 beers from more than 800 breweries.  Not only is the festival a sampling event, but it is also a beer competition.   Breweries will enter their beers into the competition which will be judged by the festival’s Professional Judge Panel. At the end of the event, the panel will identify three beers that best represent each beer-style category as described and adopted by the Great American Beer Festival. The beers will be awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze in over 102 beer-style categories. For 2018, new categories have been introduced, such as the hazy or juicy ale styles. The addition of this trio of styles include representation of what may be referred to as New England IPAs or West Coast Hazy IPAs. The styles will be identified in the guidelines and Brewers Association competitions as “Juicy or Hazy Pale Ale,” “Juicy or Hazy IPA” and “Juicy or Hazy Double IPA.”

Photo credit ‘Photo © Brewers Association'

Other new additions to GABF 2018 include:

Expanded Festival Footprint: With the addition of 100,000 square feet—a 17 percent increase over 2017 and bringing the festival footprint to 584,000 square feet—attendees will have more space to hang out and mingle with brewers and fellow beer lovers while discovering new breweries, learning more about beer at educational and experiential programs, playing games, and just having fun.

Reconfigured Festival Format: Breweries in the festival hall will be arranged in alphabetical order this year. Pro Tip: Breweries with “the” in the title will be listed under the first name following “the.” (i.e. The Bruery will be under B)

Collaboration Competition and Booth: In recognition of the collaborative spirit of the craft brewing community, we’ve added a new competition this year. Up to 48 collaboration beers will be evaluated in a Best of Show format. Many of the competition entries will be served during GABF at the Collaboration Competition Booth. Don’t miss this chance to sample these very unique and limited-edition beers!

Expanded Meet the Brewer Section: Expanded by popular demand! Meet the Brewer is very special opportunity for passionate beer fans to start conversations with their brewing heroes, learn more about their beers and talk shop. Look for these booths located in the center of the festival hall. Two more islands have been added for 2018 to accommodate up to 165 breweries—a 40 percent increase!

Additional Hangout Spots and Pavilions: Joining the floor this year will be the 12,600 square foot Jameson Caskmates Barrel-Aged Beer Garden, which will feature 17 small and independent Jameson craft brewery partners and their limited-edition Jameson barrel-aged beer; and the 3,600 square foot Buffalo Wild Wings Sports Bar, where attendees can kick back, relax and enjoy independent craft beer and wings while cheering on their favorite teams on 10 TVs.

If you can’t squeeze in a last minute trip to Denver this year be sure to scope out tickets for the 2019 event. I will be attending the Friday evening session, the Saturday afternoon member’s only session and some super fun media events surrounding GABF.  You can follow along with me on my social media accounts for live stories and photos at this year’s festival.

For more information about GABF please visit:
Follow @GABF on Twitter, hashtag #GABFLike GABF on Facebook; and follow @greatamericanbeerfestival on Instagram.

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