Beer festivals are a great way to enjoy a afternoon and there are certainly plenty of opportunities to partake in beer festivals in many locales. But if your goal is to enjoy the largest competitive festival in the United States, then there is one event you must attend at least once in your lifetime: The Great American Beer Festival. Here are the facts:
Who: Great American Beer Festival
What:Beer festival and competition
Where:Colorado Convention Center, Denver, Colorado; 700 14th Street, at the corner of 14th and Stout Street.
When:Thursday, September 29 through Saturday, October 1
Why: To sample craft and macro brew from across the United States and cheer your favorite brew to victory
The Great American Beer Festival is a huge event that runs for three days and features malt beverage products from hundreds of different breweries across the United States. The breweries can be micro (craft) brewing operations, macro breweries, and even brewpubs. As long as the brewing operation is located in the United States and fits a few other criteria, it qualifies for inclusion at the festival.
First- time guests are often overwhelmed when they visit the Great American Beer Festival for the first time. The Denver Convention Center is arranged with breweries in rows and the number of breweries and beers available is staggering. This years’ festival will include approximately 2,200 (!) different beer products available for sampling and individual evaluation. For the entrance fee, guests receive a program along with a commemorative glass that can be used for unlimited 1 ounce samples of beer. The atmosphere is open and friendly and guests are encouraged to sample beer, talk to other beer lovers from other parts of the nation and the world, and pose questions to the brewery personnel.
For attending breweries, Saturday afternoon is the most important day of the festival, for it is on this day that the Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal winners are announced in each beer style/category. This, the competitive side of the Great American Beer Festival, is one of the qualities that sets the fest apart from others and the outcome can have a significant impact on the sales and future success of winning entries. A Gold, Silver, or Bronze Medal from the Great American Beer Festival is like receiving Olympic recognition. The award stays with its recipient forever as breweries proudly proclaim their medal winners and promote their victories to prospective customers.
As for the hours, the Great American Beer Festival runs from 5:30pm to 10pm each of the three days with a special 12pm to 4pm session on Saturday, October 1. Tickets to the Great American Beer Festival normally sell for $60 each for each session or $20 for a designated driver ticket. The Saturday afternoon session is open only to members of the Brewer’s Association or the American Homebrewers Association. Tickets to this special session sell for $88 for new members and $50 for existing members.
Attending the Great American Beer Festival is, as noted before, a pilgrimage every beer lover should make at least once in his/her lifetime. Unfortunately, this year’s festival is already sold out so unless you can obtain tickets through a reseller or third party, there is no way to partake in 2011 festivities. The 2012 Great American Beer Festival will be the first one available for most beer fans and it is likely to sell out as well. This is why many are recommending membership in the American Homebrewer’s Association. If you are a member, you get access to the tickets before the general public, hence improving your odds for attendance.
The 2011 Great American Beer Festival is less than two weeks away and the internet is already abuzz with medal predictions and general anticipation for this important competition and social event. There are no tickets available, but Houstonians can still take pride in knowing that three Houston area brewers taking part in this years’ Great American Beer Festival: St. Arnold Brewery, Southern Star Brewing, and No Label Brewing.
Stay tuned for more information- including award winners- for Houston and other Texas breweries as the countdown to the 2011 Great American Beer Festival continues.
Want to read more about the world’s greatest beverage? Visit Great Beer Now!
I hope you enjoyed this post! Click the “subscribe” link above to receive automatic reminders whenever a new post is made.