First GABF? Here Are Some Tips

By Andy Sparhawk

Originally published on

I remember the urge to run. The long line that snaked along the side of the Colorado Convention Center in Denver dragged me in the building, up a wide flight of stairs and released me into the cavernous Great American Beer Festival—my first. I’m not sure what I was running to. I almost expected a lifeguard to yell, “No running!”

So I did the same straight-legged, hand flat down my sides speed walk that over-stimulated children do around a pool. I hustled to the first brewery I saw. Little did I know that the first beer sampled at Read More

Then and Now

The Great American Beer Festival got its start in 1982 as just a part of the American Homebrewers Association‘s fourth annual conference. If the name is any indication, however, founder Charlie Papazian had grander ambitions for this remarkable event.

Peruse a copy of the 1982 Program (pdf)—complete with Charlie’s handwritten notes in the margins!

Great American Beer Festival Then and Now 1982 2016 Hours of Tasting 5 over 1 session 17.5 over 4 sessions Breweries at the Festival 24 780 Beers at the Festival 47 3,800+ Festival Hall Size 5,000 square feet 380,000 square feet Attendees 800 60,000 Volunteers ~50 ~3,700 Familiar beers served in 1982 and still available today Anchor Steam and Porter Genesee Cream Ale Killian’s Irish Red Ale Leinenkugel’s Rainier Ale Rolling Rock Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Stout Stevens Read More

Save Your Data! App Updates are Coming.

The 2017 Great American Beer Festival maps and breweries will be poured into your My GABF app soon, but first…

Save Your Favs

If you rated brews and breweries during the 2016 event, they’re saved in the current My GABF app. However, in a few weeks* your 2016 tasting notes will be going away so you’re going to need to back it up, back it up, back it waaaaay up!

Two Ways to Save

Under Extra Info (the “…” section) you can either

Connect the My GABF app with your Facebook account to save your data OR Export your data into a CSV file and email it to yourself


*In Read More

Media Advisory: Find Your #HoppyPlace at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival®


For the 36th year, beer lovers will gather in Colorado at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the renowned American beer festival and competition, to find their #HoppyPlace and sample some 3,800 beers from more than 800 breweries around the country.


Thursday, October 5: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Friday, October 6: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 7*: 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

*Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association members-only session

Saturday, October 7: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Read Complete Press Read More

Vintage GABF

Did you know this year marks the 36th anniversary of the Great American Beer Festival?! Time flies when you’re enjoying delicious beer with friends! Here are some vintage photos from festivals in 1982 (the inaugural), 1983 and 1984. As you can see, hairstyles come and go (and come back!) but the joy of coming together to sample great American beer is constant …

Photos © Brewers Association.

Read More

See You This Fall!


Another year, another exceptional showing from our brilliant breweries and awesome attendees.

Give yourselves a hearty pat on the back!

Let’s do it again next year, shall we?

Meeting place: Denver. How about the convention center? Good.

Let’s say October 5-7, 2017.

We’ll announce ticket sale dates in the spring.

Hop on our email list if you’re not already on it.

See you Read More

Great Beers, Great Honors

In its 30th year, the 2016 Great American Beer Festival competition awarded 286 medals to some of the best commercial breweries in the United States, plus three GABF Pro-Am medals to teams of amateur homebrewers paired with professionals. Presented by the Brewers Association, GABF is the largest commercial beer competition in the world and a symbol of brewing Read More

2016 Award Winners

In a ceremony at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to winning breweries in 96 beer categories covering 161 different beer styles (including all subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the country. Read More

GABF Pro-Am: A Taste of Greatness

The GABF Pro-Am competition, now in its 10th year, brings commercial breweries together with homebrewers to vie for top honors. This year, 91 entries from 26 states will battle for a place on the podium. The best part? You’ll get sample these top contenders!

Seasoned GABF goers know that some of the most unique beers in the entire festival are served at the Pro-Am booth—so be sure to stop by! (The booth is near Meet the Brewer.)

How the Competition Works

Brewers Association member breweries are eligible to submit one entry into the GABF Pro-Am competition. Entries must be based on a homebrew recipe from American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members that Read More

NEW: Heavy Medal Booth!

Want to turn your #GABF experience all the way up to 11?

Of course you do.

Then be sure to check out the ALL NEW Heavy Medal booth!

We’ll be pouring beers from 2015 GABF-medal-winning breweries.

These beers promise to rock your taste buds!

Find it in Hall B near Section Y.

Check out the list of Heavy Medal booth breweries.

ROCK ON! Read More