GABF Know-How: 10 Insider Tips for a Better Great American Beer Festival

We get a little better at this GABF thing every year
by Nathan Solheim on Sep 18, 2015 in Beer
GABF Know-How: 10 Insider Tips for a Better Great American Beer Festival
The Great American Beer Festival gets greater every year—the 2015 edition has expanded by more than 90,000 square feet and features more than 3,000 beers on tap. Yes, you’ll need help.

1) Getting In

Festival organizers have made another entrance available to attendees. Anyone who’s ever gone to the GABF is quite familiar with the mile-long line to get in, so maybe this will help. Try entering the Colorado Convention Center from the new Welton Street entrance.
 
2) Rest Stop
The GABF hosts gatherings throughout the sessions called “Sit & Sip.” They’re a great way to get to know brewers, get larger samples of beers, and take a break from the main hall. Breweries this year include: Fiction, Wynkoop, Rhinegeist, Oasis Texas, Twisted Pine, Great Divide, Piney River, Union, Pinthouse Pizza, and Rogue.

3) Brewpubs, Too

Some of the best beers you’ll try are over in the Brewpub Pavilion—a place set aside specially for brewpubs. Be sure to check it out.

4) BYOF

I’ve heard mixed reviews about some of the food that’s available in the hall. I always hit up the Snyder’s of Hanover booth for bags of free pretzels, which make great palate cleansers, as well as the American Cheese Society. Both are free. You can always bring in some of your own.

5) Overhung

The only remedy I can suggest for your hangover is green chile. There’s no shortage of the stuff here in Denver, and it works even better when it’s smothering a breakfast burrito. I’ll never tell you where I get mine at. Some things are off limits.

6) App It

With all the flowing suds, you’ll need a bit of structure. The GABF mobile app provides just that. It’s easier than lugging around the printed program, plus there’s special pre-planned beer tours that help you navigate more beer than you’ve ever seen in your lifetime.

7) Bag It

The only place to get a bag for your swag is at the GABF Store. So if you want something to tote around your stuff, you’ll have to buy something. Backpacks are allowable.  

8) Creature Comforts

Only ginseng will help you with the altitude. Not. You’ll need a jacket too, maybe. Screw it, just make sure you have comfy shoes.  

9) Outside the Hall

Many breweries set up shop outside the Convention Center and pour their beers. It’s nice because you can get a full glass of beer rather than a one-ounce taste. Check out our breakdown of great tappings happening around GABF.

10) Here’s a Tap List

These 10 breweries, I believe, are worth searching for at the festival:
Wicked Weed (North Carolina)
Nebraska Brewing Company (Nebraska)
Black Tooth Brewing Company (Wyoming)
FiftyFifty Brewing Company (California)
Comrade Brewing Company (Colorado)
Central Waters Brewing Company (Wisconsin)
Breakside Brewing (Oregon)
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewing (Minnesota)
Jack’s Abby Brewing (Massachusetts)
Saucony Creek Brewing Company (Pennsylvania)

A Note on Controlled Substances: Yes, weed is legal here. But remember, it was legalized for private, in-home use. You can still be ticketed and fined for walking down the street smoking a joint or getting stoned under the big blue bear. And while Denver may be a cool town, DUIs, public intoxication, and indecent exposure are still frowned upon by the local constabulary. Denver has a great public transportation system, so make use of it or call a cab, get an UBER, or Lyft.

Denver Yellow Cab: 303-777-7777
Metro Taxi: 303-333-3333

Photos by Danya Henninger


Tags: Beer, Festival
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