Got Great American Beer Fest???

Posted: April 19, 2013 in Beer Drinking Adventures, Rambing on about nothing in particular

So the bug has bitten me early as my buddy John and I were discussing this year’s upcoming GABF in Denver Colorado.  Although the festival isn’t until mid-October, it is never too early to start planning (and saving those pennies) for the GABF.  Last year I was a complete noob the GABF when I went to Denver, but thankfully I was with several seasoned veterans of the GABF (and the weekend) that helped guide me through the process.  Now that I know what to expect, I can properly plan things out for efficiency.

For those of you that have never had the chance to experience America’s Premier Beer Festival, let me give you some quick background:

There are 4 sessions that span the course of 3 days…

  • Thursday Night
  • Friday Night
  • Saturday Afternoon (Brewers Reserve)
  • Saturday Night

Tickets for the three night sessions are all the same price, meanwhile the Brewers Reserve session is actually about 15 dollars cheaper and there are about 1/3 less tickets sold for this session.

While the festival itself is a blast and can make any craft beer enthusiast feel like a kid in a candy store, there is so much more to the weekend than just the festival.  If you really think about it, there are hundreds of brewers (and employees) in town for this event and they are scattered everywhere.  Every place you go is filled with people wearing brewery gear and all local breweries put on their best face and offer up their best beers.

For example, Avery Brewing in Boulder offers several retired beers/one offs every couple of hours for purchase.  When we happened to be there on Wednesday afternoon, they still had their special beers from the 11am release and were just tapping their next releases for 2pm, so we got to experience the best of both timed releases.  Not to mention that you get to chat with people all over the country who are there for the festival too.  I can also remember talking to several small brewers who were staying in our hotel room and they love to talk about beer(Here’s to you Mustang Brewing and Titan Brewing).

While I am really looking forward to this year’s GABF, it does come with a hefty price tag.  I estimate that to attend last years festival cost me between $1500-1700 between my wife and myself.  Thankfully for this year, I have saved up enough airline and hotel points that I should be able to cut into that heavy price tag generously.  Other than the festival tickets, rental car, and daily expenses, I should be able to keep my costs down pretty well.  With that being said, it may come as sticker shock to those that have never attended it before…but those that have been there, need not worry about the cost nor need to be convinced to go.  There is a reason why they return year after year, because it is America’s Premier Best Fest and one of the best beercations that can be had.


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