Tips for Getting the Most Out of The Great American Beer Festival—A Mile High Must-Do

The 38th annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF) took place October 3–5, 2019 in the Colorado Convention Center located in downtown Denver. More than just a festival, GABF is also a competition. This year, over 800 breweries were in attendance and 4,000 beers were featured—the largest collection of U.S. beer from breweries competing to be the best-tasting beer in 300+ categories. Click here to see the winners of this year’s GABF.

You can’t miss the Colorado Convention Center—there is a huge statue of a blue bear peeking into the window at the side of the building.

Each autumn season this festival attracts beer enthusiasts from around the world. Some dress up in costumes, others arrive prepared with chunky pretzel necklaces featuring cheese sticks, chip bags, and gummy candy in addition to the traditional pretzels. Attendees are served one ounce at a time in their unique monogrammed tasting glasses.

The monogrammed glass provided for tasting the variety of beers at the GAB Festival.

With so many options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So if you didn’t make it to this year’s festival (or you did) and you plan on attending next year, I wrote down some tips to help you get the most out of next year’s Great American Beer Festival.

  • Get there early as the line will most likely be out the door (again).
  • Make your own pretzel necklace instead of buying one at the festival for $5. It’s perfect pregame activity too!
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Get food first. The lines get long and if you’re a lightweight like me, the beer hits you fast so you’ll need a bite to eat sooner rather than later!
  • Don’t bother bringing a water bottle as there are water stations where you can fill your tasting glass for a quick drink between sips of beer.
  • Keep your eye out for free swag. This year we got free baseball caps and free drink stubs to several Denver bars!
  • Don’t drop your glass. You will be booed and even worse you won’t be able to taste any more beer!

So if you missed the 38th annual or plan on attending again, save the date—September 24–26, 2020—and don’t miss the 39th annual Great American Beer Festival—it’s a must-do mile high event!

Sipping one beer but already eyeing my next sample at the 38th annual GABF.

Until next time,

Leah Pinkus

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