FAQ: Attendees

2019 Great American Beer FestivalThe 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 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 Hotels for accommodations and Getting Here for public transportation, driving and parking information.


What are the future dates for the Great American Beer Festival?

Save these dates:

  • 2020: October 16-17
  • 2021: October 7-9
  • 2022: October 6-8
  • 2023: September 21-23

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Where is the festival?

2020 festival details are still being finalized, but we plan to offer a compelling, schedule of virtual experiences and live activations across the country. Complete festival and ticket details will be announced August 1.

 

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Why visit the Great American Beer Festival?

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.

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What’s the history of the Great American Beer Festival?

  • The first festival was held in 1982 at the Harvest House Hotel in Boulder. There were 24 breweries, 47 beers and 800 attendees.
  • The festival moved to Denver in 1984.
  • The 10th festival was held at the Denver Merchandise Mart with 150 breweries, 500 beers and 7,000 attendees.
  • Due to continued growth and popularity and the fact that the iconic Currigan Hall was being dismantled, the festival moved from Currigan Hall in Denver to the Colorado Convention Center in 2000.
  • Demand for tickets is at an all-time high. The 2007 festival sold out the week of the event, while the 2014 event sold out in just over four hours.

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What is the Great American Beer Festival?

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 4,000 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 alphabetically 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.

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Who puts on the Great American Beer Festival?

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.

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Is the Great American Beer Festival like a giant bar?

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.

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GABF Official Numbers

2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Attendance 60,000 62,000 60,000 60,000 60,000 49,000 49,000 49,000 49,000 49,000
Breweries at the Festival 800 800 800 780 750 710 624 578 466 455
Beers at the Festival 4,000 4,000 3,900 3,800 3,800 3,500 3,142 2,774 2,375 2,248
Breweries in the Competition 2,295 2,404 2,217 1,752 1,552 1,309 732 673 522 516
Beers in the Competition 9,497 8,496 7,923 7,227 6,647 5,507 4,809 4,338 3,930 3,523
Categories Judged

107

+ Pro-Am

+ 70 Collaboration

102

+ Pro-Am

+ Collaboration

98

+ Pro-Am

96

+ Pro-Am

92

+ Pro-Am

90

+ Pro-Am

84

+ Pro-Am

84

+ Pro-Am

83

+ Pro-Am

79

+ Pro-Am

Number of Judges 322 293 276 264 242 222 201 185 167 151
Avg. Number of Beers in each Category 88 83 81 75 72 61 51 51 48 42
Category with Highest Entries Juicy or Hazy IPA: 348 Juicy or Hazy IPA: 391 American-Style India Pale Ale: 408 American-Style India Pale Ale: 312 American-Style India Pale Ale: 336 American-Style India Pale Ale: 279 American-Style India Pale Ale: 252 American-Style India Pale Ale: 203 American-Style India Pale Ale: 176 American-Style India Pale Ale: 150
Medals Awarded 318 306 293 286 275 + 3 in Pro-Am 268 + 3 in Pro-Am 252 + 3 in Pro-Am 251 + 3 in Pro-Am 248 + 3 in Pro-Am 236 + 3 in Pro-Am
Volunteers 4,280 4,393 4,308 3,732 3,400 3,300 3,245 3,023 3,411 3,281
Volunteer Hours Worked 63,623 68,596  66,854 57,681 55,188 47,214 41,919 54,515 52,075 43,679

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How much are tickets?

See the tickets page for pricing information.

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What are the session times?

2020 Information coming soon Session Times
Friday, October 16 TBD
Saturday, October 17 TBD

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Where can I buy my ticket?

2020 Ticket information coming soon. Please check back.  You must be 21+ years old with a valid photo ID to attend the festival.

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What do I get for the price of my ticket?

2020 Ticket information coming soon. Please check back.

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Will there be festival merchandise  for sale?

Yes! If you love the Great American Beer Festival and want to ensure it remains a permanent and vital player on the national and local events scene and supporter of craft beer for years to come, beer lovers will be able to purchase a special collector’s edition GABF 2020 t-shirt and support the not-for-profit association that produces the festival. Details coming soon.

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