Inside the Great American Beer Festival
The Great American Beer Festival is a three-day annual event held in the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado — and oh, a sight to be seen it is. With 800 breweries and over 4,000 beers being promoted, how could it not be fun? Here are a few takeaways from experiencing the GABF for the first time:
Check for ride share promos
During the week of the Great American Beer Festival, there were more than 160 beer-related events citywide, according to Denver’s tourism office. Lyft was running a promotion which offered free rides (capped at $10) to up to 10,000 people. Access to the free ride was available through this link.
Arrive before 6PM
The line to get into the festival is long — like a mile long, like literally. If you arrive a little late thinking it will be oh-so-easy-breezy getting in because the line has died down by that time, prepare yourself for the overwhelming number of people that thought the same thing. It took 40 minutes to stand in line and it wrapped around the block. Bleh. However, it did move really fast so by the time you’re able to process what’s happening, you’re in!
You get a tasting glass
As soon as you enter the Great American Beer Festival, you’re greeted with a smile and a plastic tasting glass. Hurray (for two reasons)! 1.) You’ve finally made it inside the Colorado Convention Center and 2.) you now own a souvenir! Hang on tight to this little guy. It’s what you’ll be using to sample all the beers.
You don’t really need to bring snacks
There were lots of people with pretzel necklaces and it really did seem like a good idea to bring your own snacks. But, if you’re like me and decided to wing it, you’re in luck. There are little pizza stands on the perimeter of the venue and snack giveaways throughout. The pizza was reasonably priced too at around $10 for a small personal sized pizza and zero line to get one. The large round tables and seating along the stands made it a perfect spot to catch up with friends and kick back for a sec.
Dropping your tasting glass
By far my most favorite part of the festival was the sound of people dropping their tasting glass. Why? Because if you did, everyone (and I do mean everyone) that was nearby would point at you while shouting “Ooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” Best. Shaming. Ever. I’d go back to the festival just to accidentally drop my glass.
You must see the Melvin Brewing Company
Yes, you must see them! The Melvin Brewing Company stole the show. Between the DJ, the decked out party us, and the energy of their staff, you couldn’t help but gravitate towards them. Be sure to check them out.
Before you go, check-out this list of permitted and prohibited items. A draw strong bag or fanny pack is great for an event like this so you’re not fussing with a purse and can be hands-free to drink with one hand while snacking with the other.