GABF 2014 Guide Book Debut

Mike Laur & Nikki Stroppel - October 1, 2014
Holy cow. It's been forever since we did a new feature around here. We've been pretty busy, and if you're going to GABF, you can see for yourself what we've been working on. We're thinking you're gonna like it.

First off: GABF 2014. More Beer Than Ever. It's crazy, really. The Great American Beer Festival is a singular event - there is nothing else like it. Maybe Munich serves more beer to more people, but for sheer numbers the GABF is tops of all fests. This 33rd Annual Great American Beer Festival features 710 breweries pouring their beers, 134 from Colorado. About 45,000 attendees can choose among 3,500 beers to sample, one ounce at a time.

GABF is most notably a competition among brewers, a judged blind taste-off of beers that determines gold, silver and bronze award winners in over 85 style categories. 1,331 breweries submitted 5,544 beer entries to be judged during the days leading up to the awards ceremony on Saturday afternoon. It's serious stuff, and extremely competitive.

But it's also serious fun. With thousands of beers to choose from, it takes a bit of work to find the good ones, and make the best use of your time. We offer these small bits of advice to festivalgoers, and hope you enjoy your quest to find the next best beer ever.

1. Drink water! Bring your own or make sure you stop by the water stations throughout the event center.
2. Bring food with you either in your purse or around your neck as a pretzel necklace. Pretzels, bread slices, cheese, everyone is getting more creative as the events go on. There's food available at the DCC, or check out the Farm to Table event.
3. Keep lines moving. Don't just stand there and chat for hours while others are patiently waiting their turn. Get your sample, move aside, be brief
4. If you plan to drink make sure you have a safe ride home.
5. Bring a bag for all the awesome swag you are going to get so you can carry it.
6. Make a game plan for the breweries that you want to visit so that you know where you are going.
7. Do not bring controlled substances with you. Even though weed is legal in Colorado it is not to be used in public.
8. Dress appropriately; comfy shoes, weather-appropriate clothing but better to be safe than sorry. The weather can change fast here. Sunny, snowy - you never know.
9. If you are not from Colorado, the air is thinner here so make sure you pace yourself. You might get intoxicated more quickly, or get out of breath. Go easy.
10. Bring paper and pen, or use your phone to take tasting notes so after the festival you can remember what you had.
11. Overall be respectful of others around you, the venue, the city, breweries and the beer. Please don't get stupid.

Be sure to check out our GABF Booth #109, and the newest thing you're gonna want in your glovebox: our Beer, Wine and Spirit Drinker's Guide to Colorado. It's a 180+ page, full-color guidebook to all the brewing operations, wineries and distilleries in Colorado. It's the most comprehensive Colorado guidebook you'll ever need, and we're rolling it out at this year's GABF. Come by, share a beer, and buy one for your next roadtrip.

Mike Laur © DG2C
Have a beer with 15,000 of your best friends.

Mike Laur © DG2C
710 brewers will serve over 3500 beers. Come thirsty

Mike Laur © DG2C
GABF awards are given on Saturday, when you're likely to encounter the most brewers.

Mike Laur © DG2C
The Sandlot Brewery crew - Colorado's winningest GABF awardees.

Mike Laur © DG2C
Pace yourself. Those little one-ounce samples can add up fast.
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