American Craft Beer Festival – Largest Craft Beer Event on the East Coast!
Are you a beer drinker? Have you ever tried drinking in a festival or been at any of the beer festivals around the world? If you’ve never ever tried drinking elsewhere other than in bars or in the comfort of your home, don’t worry. The American Craft Beer Festival is happening next year from October 6 to October 8 (for this year it took place from September 24 to September 26) and it is the perfect place for you to go along with your friends who are looking to sample craft beers of all kinds!
The Great American Beer Festival (GABF), also called American Craft Beer Festival, is a three-day annual event hosted by the Brewers Association in Denver, Colorado. This event happens in mid to late September to early October. There are thousands of visitors from around the world to get a taste of thousands of different American craft beers also. The GABF is considered the largest ticketed beer festival in the United States.
Tips To Remember To Make The Most of the American Craft Beer Festival
Beeriously. You don’t want to go to the largest Craft Beer Festival in the United States unprepared, right? Since the 2015 GABF won’t happen until about a year from now, you and your drinking buddies have so much time to prepare.
Here are the top things you have to keep in mind for your next year’s trip to the American Craft Beer Festival.
- You won’t get as drunk.
Actually, it will depend on your stamina. If you’re a seasoned drinker, do not expect that you’ll be drunk in the American Craft Beer Festival. Yes, maybe you’ll get a bit dizzy here and there but you won’t be I-am-so-drunk-I-don’t-even-know-who-am-I kind of drunk.
- Bring food with you.
Aside from having the time of your life, you are attending the Craft Beer Festival to sample different kinds of craft beers. So to avoid being hungry and to make sure one craft beer’s taste does not interfere with the next one you’re about to sample, eat something salty like pretzels (which you can buy at the festival, too). They help clean your palate between samples. If the pretzels aren’t working with you, try another kind of food as long as it will help you separate the taste of all the craft beers you taste. You can also try drinking water in between.
- Make a list of the brewers that you want to visit.
There are hundreds of brewers that participate in the Craft Beer Festival and you can’t possibly go to all of them in three days (unless you don’t sleep). So you have to prioritize. Create a list of those you want to go to first.
- Be prepared for the weather.
As with any other trip, it’s always better to be prepared and safe than sorry. Bring a jacket with you to the Craft Beer Festival. Also bring change of clothes and other important stuffs. You can leave them in your car as they won’t be allowed inside.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
The Craft Beer Festival is not a runway so leave your shoes for the red carpet at home. Wear the most comfortable one that you own as you’ll do more walking than you can imagine in the halls of the American Craft Beer Festival. Aside from that, you’ll be standing outside in queue for hours (minutes, if you’re lucky) before you can actually get in. So again, leave the fancy shoes at home.
- Make sure to check the Program Session.
The American Craft Beer Festival publishes a Program Session. It’s like an itinerary that you can follow so you know what to do and where to go. You can check it out for events and presentations of each day. This way, you’ll save time and you’ll actually learn something if you get there on time.
- Download the apps.
Whether you use an Android phone or an iPhone, the Brewers Association of the American Craft Beer Festival has apps for available for your smartphone. Download the one that will work with your phone.
- Check out the most worth visiting breweries.
You can’t possibly make it to all the breweries at the American Craft Beer Festival as mentioned earlier. So if you want to spend your time wisely, visit the best of the best first. Here’s a list of famed breweries worth your time (in no particular order)
- Sun King, Indiana (Great Lakes region)
- Lucid, Minnesota (Great Lakes region)
- Devil’s Backbone, Virginia (Mid-Atlantic)
- Grimm Bros., Colorado (Mountain region)
- Laughing Sun, North Dakota (Midwest region)
- SanTan, Arizona (Southwest region)
- La Cumbre, New Mexico (Southwest region)
- Hale’s Ales, Washington (Pacific NW region)
- Marin, California (Pacific region)
- Allagash, Maine (New England region)
- Don’t be alarmed if you drop your sample glass.
The Groan Fest is a tradition of the American Craft Beer Festival. So if you’ve dropped your sample glass, they’ll groan but rest assured you won’t be the only one.
- Don’t carry marijuana.
While weed is legal in Denver, it is helpful to take note that it’s only legal when used privately or what they call in-home use. It’s not worth it to get a ticket for carrying joint and smoking it while walking down the street as you wander around the place after being in the American Craft Beer Festival.
- Take the cab.
Denver has a great transportation system. So if you’re too drunk, don’t drive. You don’t want a DUI. Also, indecent exposure and intoxication are frowned upon by the authorities so be at your best behavior. Look out also for your drinking buddies and make sure no one gets in trouble while in Denver for the American Craft Beer Festival.
- Drink plenty of water.
Besides enjoying the craft beer samples at the Craft Beer Festival, make sure that you drink water while sampling every beer. You can find water coolers everywhere, so take advantage of them.
- Arrive as early as you can.
As mentioned earlier, before you can get in, there’s a queue to the American Craft Beer Festival. So if you don’t want to stand for about 45 minutes to an hour waiting, be at the event as early as you can. Also, it’s important to bring valid IDs as you won’t be allowed to enter without identification.
- Backpacks aren’t allowed.
As mentioned earlier, bring your valuables to the American Craft Beer Festival but you can leave them in your car as they aren’t allowed in. You aren’t allowed to bring in outside food, bottles, and cans, too. The exception to the food rule is pretzel jewelry.
- Make your own pretzel necklace.
Pretzel necklaces are considered jewelry and a part of your outfit while at the Craft Beer Festival. These necklaces are a great idea so you can have food at your disposal.
- Take notes using pen and paper.
Some attendees take notes with their smartphones but it will consume your phone’s battery and you don’t want to miss the American Craft Beer Festival just because you have to go away for a couple of minutes to charge your phone up. So take a pen and a paper with you and bring them in your purse so you can take notes without worrying about your phone’s batter life.
- Do not forget to bring your camera.
There is so much to take pictures of during the American Craft Beer Festival. Make sure you capture the action on your camera. While most smartphones have cameras in them, it is still helpful to bring along a separate camera from your phone as you don’t want to consume your phone’s battery life. If you not have a camera, then buy a spare battery phone and make sure it is fully charged before you go to the festival so if your phone runs out of power, you have an extra one to use and you need not go away to charge your phone.
- Know and understand beer vocabulary.
If you’re not quite a beer drinker or a beer geek, or if you’re fairly new to the craft beer world, learn the basic beer vocabulary before you attend the Craft Beer Festival. This way, you understand what the people around is talking about and you won’t ever feel left out.
- Check out the other events in the Denver area.
Aside from the Craft Beer Festival, there are other events in the Denver area that you might want to check out like Falling Rock Tap House and Euclid Hall.
Cool Facts about the American Craft Beer Festival that You Might Not Know About
The American Craft Beer Festival, as with any other feast or festival, has its own quirks and trivia. Here are some of them.
- Charlie Papazian founded the American Craft Beer Festival. He was called the father of the American craft beer.
- Charlie Papazian also wrote the book “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing”. He created the National Pie Day aside from the Craft Beer Festival and he also founded the Association of Brewers.
- The very first Great American Beer Festival (GABF) festival was held in Boulder, Colorado in the year 1982. The Craft Beer Festival’s inspiration then was the Great British Beer Festival.
- During the inaugural festival of the Craft Beer Festival, there were only 22 breweries, 40 beers, and 800 attendees.
- The Craft Beer Festival moved to Denver Colorado during 1984.
- The demand for tickets for the Craft Beer Festival increased during the years. The 2007 festival sold out during the week of the event while the 2015 tickets were sold out in just over one hour.
- In 2014, 5507 beers were judged by 222 judges in 90 categories during the Craft Beer Festival. There were 1309 breweries from all the United States which competed with 52 first-time breweries bringing home medals. 49000 were the total headcount of the attendees.
- This 2015, an estimated of 3500 beers will poured, A total of 60000 people are expected to attend the Craft Beer Festival and more than 750 breweries are going to join at the festival hall.
- The Craft Beer Festival hall is divided into 8 US regions: Midwest, Rocky Mountain, Mid-Atlantic, Pacific, Pacific Northwest, New England, Southeast, and Southwest.
- In case you drop your glass on the floor while sampling a craft beer in the Craft Beer Festival, whether by accident or not, the audience will let you know their “disapproval” with some celebratory “oohhs and ahhhs”. Just ignore them but make sure not to drop your sample glass.
Drink Responsibly at the American Craft Beer Festival
If you’re 21 years old and above and wanted to try attending a beer festival, you might as well go to the largest and the best one, the American Craft Beer Festival. It’s an experience of a lifetime but you just have to make sure that you take samples moderately and if you feel like you can’t take beer anymore, then don’t drink it. More importantly, don’t drink and drive. As with any other trips, your safety is more important than your need to have fun. You won’t enjoy the experience anyway if you landed in jail or got a ticket due to irresponsible behavior.
Visit information about festivals section to explore a full list of festivals happening around the world yearly!