Each year, GABF represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served, in a public tasting event plus a private competition. GABF brings together the brewers and diverse beers that make the U.S. the world’s greatest brewing nation.
GABF was founded in 1982, and has been growing and evolving along with the American craft brewing industry ever since.
The Great American Beer Festival takes place at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Please visit the Travel section for hotel accommodations, public transportation, driving and parking information and to learn more about the area.
- What are the future dates for the Great American Beer Festival?
- Where is the festival?
- Why visit the Great American Beer Festival?
- How much are tickets?
- Why is the Saturday Afternoon Connoisseur Session now a Members Only Session?
- Do you sell a Designated Driver ticket?
- Do you accept credit cards or checks?
- What are the session times?
- Where can I buy my ticket?
- What do I get for the price of my ticket?
- Can I bring my child?
- Why is there a line to get in?
- Will there be any food and non-alcoholic beverages available?
- Will there be any gluten-free beers available?
- Should I drive or take public transportation?
- How can I get driving directions?
- Why are the tasting cups plastic?
- What is the Great American Beer Festival?
- Who puts on the Great American Beer Festival?
- Is the Great American Beer Festival like a giant bar?
- How can breweries run out of beer?
- What’s this I hear about a free app?
- Can I bring my own water bottle?
- No Re-Entry
- Smoking Policy
- Intoxicated Guests
- Prohibited Items
- Still Photography
- Metal detectors
- Water Stations
Save these dates!
- 2018 GABF: September 20-22, 2018
Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, 14th and Stout Streets, Denver, Colorado 80202.
The Great American Beer Festival is the premier U.S. beer festival and competition. Each year, GABF represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served, in the format of a public tasting event plus a private competition. GABF brings together the brewers and beers that make the U.S. the world’s greatest brewing nation. This event showcases the diverse beers that make craft brewing one of the fastest-growing segments of the beer, wine and spirits industry. GABF was founded in 1982, and has been growing and evolving along with the American craft brewing industry ever since. The Great American Beer Festival is listed as one of the top 1,000 places in the U.S. to visit before you die.
See Tickets section for information.
The Brewers Association is a member-based organization. We have heard from our members that the Saturday Afternoon Session is one of their most valued member benefits. In an effort to be responsive to our members, yet still make the session available to beer enthusiasts, we have modified ticket prices and requirements.
To attend the Saturday Afternoon Members Only Session you must be a member of one of our two organizations: the Brewers Association (professional brewing industry) or the American Homebrewers Association (amateur and brewing enthusiasts).
If I don’t homebrew, what can I do with this membership?
One of the best benefits of being an American Homebrewers Association member is using your membership card to get discounts at breweries, brewpubs, and better beer bars across the country through AHA Member Deals. Depending on the laws of your state, discounts may be on beer, food, homebrewing supplies and more. We know you love beer and likely already visit the great establishments involved in our program. We currently have 1,000+participating locations offering discounts. Browse the list of participating locations!
If you have any questions, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.888.822.6273. You must be 21+ years old with a valid photo ID to attend the festival.
Yes, Designated Driver tickets are available for all sessions for $25 each. Free, non-alcoholic sodas will be available. Designated Drivers are welcome to attend the beer and food seminars, walk around the festival floor, or relax in the Designated Driver Lounge.
You must be 21+ years old with a valid photo ID to attend the festival.
We do accept cash and major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard and American Express. No, the GABF merchandise booth and bookstore do not accept personal checks. There is an ATM in the Colorado Convention Center lobby.
|2018 Session Date||2017 Session Time|
|Last pour is 15 minutes prior to session end time.|
|Thursday, September 20||5:30 pm – 10:00 pm|
|Friday, September 21||5:30 pm – 10:00 pm|
|Saturday, September 22 Members Only Session||12:00 pm – 4:00 pm|
|Saturday, September 22||5:30 pm – 10:00 pm|
Tickets will be available via Ticketmaster.com. See Purchase Tickets for more information. You must be 21+ years old with a valid photo ID to attend the festival.
Note: Tickets for the past several editions of the Great American Beer Festival sold out in advance—and in 2016, the public ticket sale was over in under two hours. There were no on-site ticket sales. Please plan accordingly.
Ticket prices for each of the three evening sessions include a festival program, a commemorative tasting cup, unlimited one-ounce samples of your choice of more than 3,500 beers, and a festival guide to help you navigate the floor.
The Saturday Afternoon Members-Only Session includes all of the previously mentioned benefits, as well as a commemorative tasting glass. A more intimate atmosphere is created as the attendance is limited to members only, and the much-anticipated gold, silver and bronze medal winners in each style category are posted. The opportunity may even arise for an informal discussion with a famous brewer on the latest brewing techniques or on what makes your favorite beer so good. Finally, you can participate in beer and food educational seminars that take place throughout the session. This is a must attend session for anyone with a passion for beer!
You must be 21+ years old with valid ID to attend.
There will not be a coat check. Also, lockers are not available for rent.
Backpacks are not permitted in the festival, so please plan accordingly.
Although we highly recommend leaving all children at home, children under age 2 are allowed, only if carried by a parent at all times. Keep in mind the festival hall can get extremely loud.
No strollers or personal backpacks are allowed in the hall. Baby backpacks are allowed.
Many beer enthusiasts line up well in advance for the festival, and there will most likely be a line at the entrance to the Great American Beer Festival. An ID check of all who enter the festival is required. The line will move quickly if you have your ID out to make the age verification process run smoothly.
You must be 21+ with a valid photo ID to enter the festival.
Yep! The festival’s gluten-free and gluten-reduced options grow in number each year. Be sure to download the free My GABF app (Android / iPhone) before the festival and select the gluten-free beer tour—the app will guide you to all of the GF options available. (Open the app before you enter the hall, as internet connectivity is pretty spotty.)
As this event draws an estimated 60,000 people over the course of three days, downtown parking can be difficult. Public transportation is always recommended when drinking alcohol. We would like to offer a few alternate options for you.
- Stay at a downtown hotel, and take a taxi or walk. Taxis will be available after all sessions.
- There is a Regional Transportation District (RTD) bus stop a few blocks from the Convention Center, and the buses run until 1:00 am.
- Denver’s Light Rail is also a convenient option. There is ample parking at the Cinderella City Station (located at the intersection of Santa Fe Avenue and Hampden Avenue). The Light Rail stops directly in front of the Convention Center.
- Designated Driver tickets are available for the discounted rate of $25 each.
- Looking to see the city by bike? Denver B-Cycle offers short term bike share rentals at dozens of stations around the city, including one right by the Colorado Convention Center. Please do not drink and ride!
Parking is available at the Colorado Convention Center parking garage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, 14th and Stout Streets, Denver, Colorado 80202.
Also see these directions.
The Colorado Convention center rules stipulate that no glass will be allowed at the evening sessions. The cups provided are made of Lexan, an odorless and tasteless plastic. Glass tasting glasses are given only at the Saturday Afternoon Members Only Session.
Remember, Savor the Flavor Responsibly!
According to the Guinness Book of World Records®, there is no other place on earth where a beer aficionado can find more beers on tap. The Great American Beer Festival is the American brewing industry’s top public tasting opportunity and competition. Tasting sessions will offer attendees the opportunity to tour America’s brewing landscape, one ounce at a time, with access to more than 3,500 different beers from over 800 of the nation’s finest breweries. The GABF gathers practically every type of beer from all of the regions of the country, and are arranged geographically in the festival hall. The festival allows visitors to taste the largest number and the widest variety of hand-crafted products in the American beer industry.
The Great American Beer Festival has been held every year since 1982 and is presented by the Brewers Association, a not-for-profit educational and trade organization that is devoted to making quality brewing and beer information available to anyone. The Brewers Association also promotes and protects American craft beer, American craft brewers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association serves craft brewers and homebrewers and produces bi-monthly magazines and books about the brewing industry.
If you are interested in learning more about the Brewers Association (BA) and homebrewing, stop by the American Homebrewers Association, a division of the BA, booth to pick up your free copy of Zymurgy: An Introduction to Homebrewing.
The goal of the Great American Beer Festival is to allow attendees to taste a variety of new brands and different styles of beer. To allow guests to taste American craft beer, samples are poured in one-ounce tasting portions.
Occasionally, a brewery will run out of a certain beer. The beer may be overly popular with the festival crowd. Luckily, there are more than 3,500 beers to sample. If you miss a beer this year, you will have to remember to try it early the next year!
The free My GABF app is your trusty companion at the Great American Beer Festival! With the app you can browse the brewery list, save breweries you love, jot down notes on the beers you’ve tasted, and take guided beer tours based on your favorite styles. Get it for iPhone or Android.
Empty, CLEAR, reusable, plastic water bottles are permitted e.g., Nalgene bottles (32 oz. or less). Glass bottles are prohibited.
The Great American Beer Festival has a no re-entry policy. Please plan accordingly.
The Colorado Convention Center is a non-smoking facility. A designated smoking area is located on the loading docks just off the festival hall.
All guests of the Great American Beer Festival are expected to drink responsibly and ensure they have a safe, responsible means of transportation before leaving the facility.
Any guest who is intoxicated before entering the event may be denied entry to the facility.
Any guest found intoxicated within the event and causing a disturbance, as determined by management, will be asked to leave the facility without refund and may be subject to further consequences.
No unapproved marketing will be allowed at the Great American Beer Festival. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Unauthorized distribution of literature, business cards, flyers, handouts, pamphlets, other written forms, etc.
- Chanting or shouting words associated with commercial advertising.
- Possessing signs/flags/banners/posters displaying words or pictures associated with commercial advertising.
All cases are subject to review and decision by event management. Guests found to be marketing as determined by management may be subject to ejection.
Guests found passing out literature or any written forms of unauthorized marketing will be asked to collect all pieces of marketing handed out and dispose of them in the trash or recycling. Any additional pieces of marketing found make the guest/marketing company subject to being billed for cleanup costs.
Guests/companies repeatedly found marketing on property may be cited with trespassing.
GABF Prohibited items include, but are not limited to:
- Outside alcohol
- Outside food/beverages
- Metal water bottles (clear, plastic water bottles permitted)
- Weapons (i.e. knives, pepper spray, stun-guns, any concealed weapons, firearms, etc.)
- Illegal drugs
- Fireworks, smoke bombs, etc.
- Backpacks (i.e. a multi compartment/multi strap bag) suitcases, large beach bags, etc.
- Smoking (including the use of e-cigarettes or vape pens) inside the Convention Center
- Skateboards, roller skates, ice skates, use of roller shoes, etc.
- Unapproved pamphlets, handouts, advertisements, etc. (see “Marketing”)
- Other items as determined by facility management
Event management reserves the right to handle each occurrence on a case by case basis. Depending on the item, the guest may either be asked to remove the item from the facility or dispose of the item, or may be ejected from the facility.
All bags, jackets, and guests are subject to search upon entering the event.
Items which have varying policies include: cameras, video/audio recording equipment, and signs/flags/banners/posters.
Guests are welcome to bring personal cameras into the event.
Professional photography access is determined on a case by case basis by event management. See Media Access.
Guests must possess a valid ticket at all times. Guests unable to produce a ticket may be ejected from the event without refund.
Guests who attempt to “sneak” into the facility may be arrested and cited for evasion of admission.
*Note—These policies and procedures that are subject to change and update at any time.
All attendees (ticketholders, brewers, media, etc.) will be asked to go through a walk-through metal detector, similar to the units used at all major U.S. airports and professional stadiums and arenas. Backpacks are prohibited for this event and all items are subject to screening. The added security precaution represents GABF’s ongoing approach to balancing safety and fun.
Keeping hydrated is a major part of attending any festival! Great American Beer Festival® has made the commitment to provide FREE water stations during each session. You will be able to bring an empty, CLEAR, reusable, plastic water bottle up to 32 oz. into the Colorado Convention Center, which may be filled for free at the water stations. Glass bottles are prohibited. All water stations will be easily identifiable on festival maps and with onsite signage.