The 2012 Great American Beer Festival drew 49,000 attendees to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver on Oct. 10-12.
The festival is the largest commercial beer competition in the world, and for craft beer enthusiasts, it’s heaven.
I was able to go as an entrant in the 2012 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition, thanks to Ghost River Brewing and the Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs homebrew club. I had a brewer’s pass and was able to go all three days.
At the festival, I tried as many beers as possible, but ultimately one can only sample of fraction of what’s on tap. More than 2,700 beers were served by 578 breweries in the festival hall.
Among my new favorites: Alpine Beer Co.’s Duet, a West Coast IPA; Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s Wookey Jack, an American-Style Black Ale; Redrock Brewing Co.’s Redrock Organic Zwickel Bier; and Laurelwood Brewing Co.’s Organic Deranger Imperial Red Ale.
The layout in the festival hall is divided up by region. I spent a lot of time hitting up the California breweries, including one of my favorites, Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse.
One of the highlights for me? Getting to meet Charlie Papazian, who founded the Association of Brewers and the Great American Beer Festival and wrote The Complete Joy of Home Brewing.
I’ve spent some time in the Silent Disco at Bonnaroo, so I skipped it at GABF. But there was always a long line to get in. The concept is this: it’s a disco where people dance to music via wireless headphones. Fun to watch from the outside.
The Beer Enthusiast Bookstore had a nice selection of homebrewing books and featured a full slate of book signings all three days, including authors Charlie Papazian, Garrett Oliver, John Palmer, Ray Daniels and Greg Koch.