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What's New and What To Do at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival

The USA's biggest beer competition returns
by Carrie Dow on Sep 29, 2014 in Beer
What's New and What To Do at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival

Were you one of the lucky few to get Great American Beer Festival tickets before it sold out? If so, Congratulations! The 2014 GABF will be held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver from October 2–4. Whether a long time attendee or a first time visitor, here is a roundup of what’s new and what to do at American’s biggest beer festival.

First and foremost, GABF is a beer tasting competition, and professional beer judges from around the country will sample hundreds of beers. The competitions are done in small groups by beer style and are judged without the knowledge of the beer’s brand name. Each panel identifies the three beers that best represent each style of beer. There are five different 3-hour judging sessions held over the 3-day festival. There are 90 different beer categories with many having several sub-categories as well. Winners are usually announced during the brewer’s session on Saturday afternoon.

American Cheese Society: What creamy concoction goes great with beer? Cheese! Once again the American Cheese Society will offer up a variety of American-produced cheeses from Vermont to California for imbibers to sample.

Brewpub Pavilion: A majority of the country’s breweries are actually brewpubs serving up fine food along with local brew. The GABF celebrates this tradition with the Brewpub Pavilion located in the central area of the festival hall featuring 36 brewpubs from all over the country. Small bites from these brewpubs will be available for purchase in this area as well.

Designated Driver Lounge: This popular venue supports something very important to GABF, a safe trip home from the festival. This comfy area will offer specially crafted sodas and root beers from Tommyknocker Brewery as well as a free chair massage and complimentary gifts from the festival. DD’s can also receive 25% off of reserved, guaranteed parking at the festival. See website for more details.

Homebrew Marketplace: After drinking all this fine beer, want to try brewing for yourself? Visit the Homebrew Marketplace to learn more and see the latest in homebrew products and equipment. Exhibitors are BSG Handcraft, The Brewing Network, Hopunion LLC, PicoBrew and Tom’s Homebrew Shop.

Silent Disco: This is one of our favorite events at GABF. Watch festival goers get down to the dopest beats by an in-house DJ while wearing headphones. That means dancers can hear the music, while you and other wallflowers cannot. Oskar Blues Brewery once again sponsors this hilarious sideshow.

Seminars and other events: During the weekend many presentations and seminars will be available to festival attendees. The most popular is You Be the Judge. These tasting events show attendees what it is like to be a festival judge and include a blind taste testing. Can you taste the best? You Be the Judge sessions are limited to 20 people each and last for 30 minutes. Attendance is first-come, first-serve so check the schedule at the festival and get to sessions early.

Other events include the Brewers Studio Pavilion where attendees can meet the mad scientists that make their favorite beers. The seminar schedule will be announced before the festival. Also available again this year is the Beer Enthusiast Bookstore with the best and most popular books on everything related to beer from making it to drinking it to where to find it around the world. Authors will be available at special times for book signings as well. Author schedule up on the website.

Need a better way to keep track of the beers sampled at the festival? Download the GABF smartphone app and find out what beers are available and where favorite breweries are located in the festival hall. Keep track and rate your favorites and see how they compare with the winners. 

Denver-area restaurants and breweries will also be having special events and tastings revolving around GABF. Stay tuned to Drink Denver for information and updates as they become available. 

Photo © Brewers Association


Tags: Beer, Festival
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