Our Top 5 Reasons To Make The Journey To The Great American Beer Festival (and go back again and again)

25 September, 2018

If you love roller coasters, you seek out the best roller coaster parks. If you love craft beer, you head to Great American Beer Festival. GABF isn’t just a one-off bucket list journey, it’s worthy of an annual pilgrimage. Let’s countdown our (and Pleepleus’s) reasons why we do our best to make it a must-do trip on our yearly calendar…



#5 - The Brewers Bring Their Best

GABF isn’t all about the awards. It’s the penultimate opportunity to showcase a brewers hard work and creativity directly to you the beer fan. Brewers will plan as far away as a year out to brew a special batch just for GABF attendees (and judges). There were 6,300+ beers served at this years festival but in most cases one of the offerings from the majority of breweries was a special “one-off."


kegsPhoto © Brewers Association

#4 - Festivals Within The Festival

For the 2018 Festival GABF accommodated 800 more breweries in the expanded festival hall. Not only does the brewery/beer count go up, but the fun goes up as well.


  • This year “The Backyard” had even more hangout space (couches, bean bags), XL corn hole,  XL beer pong and other XL patio games.
  • The Heavy Medal Booth is your shortcut to the sampling the winners of GABF and the World Beer Cup!
  • The new Collaboration Beer Competition Booth offers you a chance to taste the very limited edition collaborations of the major breweries. This is a must stop!
  • Jameson Caskemates Barrel Aged Beer Garden = super cool! Jameson brought its small and independent brewery partners from across the USA together for the first time ever, giving craft beer lovers a chance to sample all the barrel aged beers in one location. Each brewery received Jameson Irish Whiskey barrels from Midleton, Co. Cork, Ireland that had previously held Jameson Irish Whiskey, these barrels were then used to age each brewery’s beer.
Other mix of awesome; Silent Disco, Buffalo Wild Wings Sports Bar, Pro-Am Booth and Meet The Brewer sessions.


#3 - Denver Opens It’s Doors


What a wonderful home for America’s largest Craft Beer Festival. This year marked the 37th consecutive year Denver has opens its doors and welcomed the craft beer lovers of the world. Outside of the festival hall walls are seemingly endless events at downtown (and surrounding area) watering holes, hotels, restaurants and hot spots. It really is a party atmosphere with like minded folks looking to drink, eat and gather in celebration of the Craft experience.



We’re foodies at DME. We attend local and regional beer & food pairing dinners and events all year long. We host our own beer & food pairing dinners. PAIRED is GABF hosting “thee” beer & food pairing event. Only 25 independent breweries and 25 award winning chefs are invited each year to produce 50 amazing pairings just for you. Each year is different and each year the bar seems to get raised higher. It’s one thing to take down those 1oz samples exploring the massive festival hall, it’s another to try Armadillo Ale Works’ Tropical Sour paired with rockfish ceviche, young coconut shavings, serrano pepper, avocado and smoke dulse (just to mention one!).

pairedPhoto © Brewers Association

All of the pairings are perfect in size so it’s more than feasible to make a serious dent in the offerings surrounding you. Tickets are $160 but this includes your General Session ticket too. PAIRED is limited which is a good and bad thing. Bad if you miss out, good if you are in and notice you get to enjoy the fun without the lines.


#1 - The Festival Itself

This seems a little cheesy to make #1 but let some of these numbers sink in:

  • Three 4.5 hour sessions (Saturday afternoon session is for Brewers Association and AHA members only)
  • Unlimited 1oz samples of 8,300+ beers. And trust us, in the last hour of any session that 1oz gets mysteriously larger
  • 584,000 square feet of 2,200 breweries
    Amazing beer ready for consumption being judged in 102 Beer style categories
  • 99% of the 6,300 breweries are independent
    165 breweries participating in the “meet the brewer” booths located right in the middle of the festival
  • Educational and experimental beer sessions throughout the event

festivalitselfPhoto © Brewers Association

Let’s not forget the costumes, the games, the chill zones, the food, the amazing organization (yup, they have an App), and the underlying buzz of happy-go-lucky craft beer fans that seem to generate enough electricity to light up the entire festival hall.

festival2Photo © Brewers Association

Simply put, GABF is fun. From the moment the band signals the start of the general session to the chanting crowds existing in mass from the convention center, GABF is an experience that once you soak in will have you hooked. GABF is almost like visiting the Smithsonian, there’s just to much to see in one trip. Considering the intake of beer throughout, the necessity to visit more than once is almost a prerequisite of a beer lover.

Save these dates!
    •    2019: October 3-5
    •    2020: September 24-26
    •    2021: October 7-9
    •    2022: October 6-8
    •    2023: September 21-23

theendThe End