How Great Was Great American Beer Fest in 2018?
Great American Beer Festival takes place every year in Denver, Colorado to the delight of beer fans across the world. As one of the largest gatherings of beer in the nation, GABF is known across the land as one of the major beer fests to visit if you are a craft beer fan. This year was full of changes over previous years but one thing remained the same… There was a TON of great beer!
With over 800 breweries and over 4,000 beers, the brews were flowing for the several thousand in attendance. As always, the earlier you go to GABF, the bigger your selection of beers. The Thursday session is often the last to sell out, but it should be the first to consider if you are looking to get free merchandise from the breweries as well as try all of the beers from your favorite, hype-generating beer creators. Friday seems to be a good mix of everything with the bonus of having the weekend to recuperate if you are going only one session. Saturday’s Members session continues to be my personal favorite and the afternoon of Saturday being an excellent spot for people watching if you get my drift!
The changes this year included good and bad additions. I enjoyed the Jameson Caskmate area which featured barrel aged beers from different breweries along with fun pictures and a fantastic barrel making demo from a master cooper! Buffalo Wild Wings also featured a huge spot with sports and free wings for all. Granted it was only two wings, but you could get in line as many times as you liked and the line went quickly. While the change to an earlier date in September rather than October was not my favorite (it just feels like GABF belongs in October!), the worst of the changes was aligning breweries based off of alphabetical order as opposed to regions. I loved the past few years where I could enjoy beers that I usually don’t have access to as opposed to having to make a game plan of visiting breweries based on their name.
These changes for better or worse will shape the next year of GABF, and I hope they are adding to the innovation this year while resetting a few of the former things they changed for the worse.
The allure of GABF is said to fading, but I think that as long as the Brewers Association keeps it relevant by injecting new and exciting ideas, they will continue to bring in that craft beer loving crowd every year.
Check out the video above and the photos below to see more from this year’s GABF!