The Great American Beer Festival Drink Thousands Of Beers One Ounce At A Time

Imagine a room. Probably the biggest room you’ve ever been in. It’s about the size of 10 soccer pitches. You’ve paid around US$80 to get into this gigantic room for four hours. You’ve been given a small plastic glass with a fill-line denoting loz (30ml). As you stand staring in awe at the sheer scale of this space, packed with people, you need to figure out how to work through some of the 3,500 beers in front of you, one ounce at a time. This is the Great American Beer Festival.

The Great American Beer Festival Drink Thousands Of Beers One Ounce At A Time Photo Gallery

Your ticket gets you unlimited loz pours of beer. An ounce is one giant gulp, two big tastes, or three little sips. But three little sips of over three thousand beers is an impossible feat… In glorious Yankee grandeur, the GABF is really great in many ways: the space is so huge you need the map to orient yourself and you’ll still get lost; the beer selection is unrivalled and overwhelmingly incredible, with hundreds of the best breweries pouring amazing brews; and the atmosphere of a thousand lively conversations rises into an electrifying, excited roar.

There are negatives: sips are different to drinks, meaning it’s difficult to get a decent taste of longed-for beers; the food isn’t good, which is probably why people bring homemade pretzel necklaces with them to snack on (it took me three days of searching for the pretzel necklace stand to realise people made their own…); you’ll need to queue for rare beers and this could take a long time for the small sample; and there’s also an inevitable frat party drunkenness toward the end as the people who pounded the Imperial IP As at the beginning of the session feel their impact. But these are minor issues. No other world beer event is like the GABF. Go at least once in your life.

Delicious American beer, 1 oz at a time.

The Lowdown

WHAT: The Great American Beer Festival

HOW: GABF take places annually around late September/early October (

WHERE: Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, 14th and Stout Streets, Denver, Colorado 80202, USA

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