Taste, Listen and Learn

With more than 3,000 beers to choose from at the festival, you’re bound to find a flavor that amazes—or perplexes—you. There are many brewers around the hall, serving beers and answering questions. However, if you’re the type to pore over a course catalog before the semester begins, you’ll probably appreciate the Brewers Studio, You be the Judge and Beer & Food Pavilions.

Each pavilion offers a full schedule of talks featuring craft beer luminaries and experts discussing a range of topics, from barrel aging to beer and cheese pairing.

Sponsored by Falling Rock Tap House, the Brewers Studio Pavilion focuses on the people and stories behind the world’s most interesting beers and breweries. For instance, you can taste 2012 GABF medal-winning beers, learn about Stone’s barrel-aging program or enjoy the always-raucous Brewers Feud.

If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, make sure to visit the Beer & Food Pavilion, sponsored by Yard House Restaurants, to learn about how you can integrate your favorite beverage into your next dinner party. Want to whet your appetite? How does barley wine and pig butter sound? If you aren’t feeling so adventurous, the Beer & Food Pavilion offers many other options, like beer pairings with Official Sponsor Snyder’s pretzels.

The festival is huge, but did you realize that there’s a competition happening behind the scenes with more than 4,300 beers and nearly 200 judges? Although the GABF competition isn’t open to the public, you can learn about the judging process at Cicerone’s® You Be the Judge Pavilion. There, you can also learn how to recognize beer off-flavors and participate in a mock beer judging.

But wait, won’t we miss out on the festival if we sit through these seminars? Not to worry! All pavilion talks are 30 minutes or shorter, and most include special tastings of beers that might not even be available in the hall. Added bonus: the Beer & Food Pavilion generally has tasty snacks to pair with the beers on tap.

Who knew beer could be so educational!