GABF - Before, During and After

Avery Brewing Co.’s booth was hopping during last year’s festival.  Photo: Neill Pieper

Avery Brewing Co.’s booth was hopping during last year’s festival. Photo: Neill Pieper

It’s that time of year when an ocean of brew washes through the city of Denver.

For beer hounds lucky enough to be in town during the week of the Great American Beer Festival, the experience is unmatched. During their GABF experience, they can expect 4,000-plus beers and over 800 breweries. Last year, when roughly 60,000 people attended, 7,138 kegs of beer were distributed throughout the Colorado Convention Center. That’s the equivalent of 1,744 barrels, 54,060 gallons, or 576,640 12-ounce bottles.

However, there is more to the 36-year-old festival than a three-hour tasting pass to nirvana.

Breweries, bars and restaurants throughout the city will feature award-winning Colorado brews during the fest and during the week leading up to GABF. Although some of the award winners can be found at the GABF Heavy Medal Booth while attendees are inside the Convention Center, make sure to seek out brews all over the city. To expedite the search, Thirst Colorado staffers have compiled gold-medal winners from the 2017 Great American Beer Festival and the 2018 World Beer Cup.

The Brewers Association, which runs the festival and lobbies nationally on behalf of craft breweries, is always looking for a fresh angle at GABF. The festival runs Sept. 20-22, and after 36 years, it’s good to know that in addition to great new beers there will be a few other twists. Don’t miss the Jameson Caskmates Barrel Aged Beer Garden, adjacent to the tasting floor. Breweries around the U.S. have used the Dublin-based Jameson barrels to age their beer. The results are worth checking out.

In addition, the GABF Collaboration competition will feature beers that top breweries have worked together to produce. Some of the collabs will be available for tasting at the Collaboration Booth. To catch a break from the tasting floor, check out the Buffalo Wild Wings Sports Bar, where TVs will broadcast anything and everything to do with sports.

The Holidaily Brewing Co. crew took time out for a photo during the 2017 GABF. Photo: Neill Pieper

The Holidaily Brewing Co. crew took time out for a photo during the 2017 GABF.Photo: Neill Pieper

According to the Brewers Association, “There’s more space to hang out with brewers and fellow beer lovers, discovering new breweries, learning more about beer at educational and experiential programs, playing games, and just having fun.”

With an additional 100,000-square-feet of space (up 17 percent over last year), there should be room for an epic adventure.


Great American Beer Festival 2017 Winners


  • Copper Club Brewing Co., F-Town Amber, American-Style Amber/Red Ale
  • Little Machine Beer, Razz Against the Machine, American- Style Fruit Beer
  • Lone Tree Brewing Co., Mexican Lager, American-Style Lager of Malt Liquor
  • Jessup Farm Barrel House, Fancy Pants, Brett Beer
  • Funkwerks, Saison, Classic Saison
  • CooperSmith’s Pub & Brewing, Punjabi, English Style India Pale Ale
  • Square Peg Brewerks, Waverly Tulip, Historical Beer
  • Wiley Roots Brewing Co., Galaxy Dry Hopped Funk Yo Couch, Mixed-culture Brett Beer
  • Denver Beer Co., Just Another Pretty Face, Pro-Am
  • The Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field, So long and thank’s for all the (smoked) fish!, Smoke Beer
  • Finkel and Garf Brewing Co., Oatmeal Milk Stout, Sweet Stout or Cream Stout
  • Rockyard American Grill and Brewing Co., Plum Creek Sour, Wood and Barrel aged Sour Beer
  • WeldWerks Brewing Co., Medianoche, Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Stout

World Beer Cup 2018 Winners


  • Diebolt Brewing Co., Vladislav, Aged Beer
  • Funkwerks, Oud Bruin, Belgian-Style Flanders Oud Bruin or Oud Red Ale
  • Our Mutual Friend Brewing, Saison Trystero, Brett Beer
  • Steamworks Brewing Co., Night Train, Dark Lager
  • Bull & Bush Brewery, Big Ben Brown Ale, English-Style Brown Ale
  • Call To Arms Brewing Co., More Like Bore-O-Phyll, Fresh or Wet Hop Ale
  • Rockyard American Grill & Brewing Co., Primadonna Pilsner, German-Style Pilsener
  • Cannonball Creek Brewing Co., Trump Hands, Session India Pale Ale
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