THE Great American Beer Festival

Happy GABF week!  (Already?)  You may have noticed that it’s kicking off a little early this year—too bad fall hasn’t caught up on that memo yet.  Anyways, over here at LandLocked Ales, we’re excited to celebrate our first year participating in the Great American Beer Festival!

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            For those of you who haven’t done much research, GABF is the largest beer tasting and competition in the world.  Beer lovers and brewers alike meet up to drink, talk, and appreciate craft beer made by passionate breweries and individuals.  Beginning in 1982, this annual festival was created by The Brewers Association, which is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to beer-related education and the protection of the independent craft industry.  The festival was first held at the Harvest House Hotel in Boulder, but as attendance grew increasingly fast, it was moved to Denver two years later.  As of 2000, the festival is so big that only the Colorado Convention Center can contain the 800+ breweries and 60,000 attendees.

But best of all, these are our favorite fun facts about the festival:  India Pale Ales have been the category with the most entries since 2010 (imagine that), and GABF is apparently listed as one of the top 1,000 places to visit before you die.

Sound interesting?  If you’re on your way over to GABF’s official site now, you might want to know that only Thursday night’s session is still available.  Yes, 60,000 is the max attendance allowance and that seems like a lot.  But last year’s tickets sold out in just over four hours, so at least there are still some available!

So, what’s the draw to such a crazy, crowded competition?  Well... Our take is that even though the festival is a massive competition, the atmosphere inside the tasting hall is constructively supportive and boisterously friendly (that’s actually one of my favorite things about this industry).

Imagine your favorite local brewery.  (Hopefully you’re imagining LandLocked’s gorgeous woodworked bar, but if you’re not, that’s okay too.)  On any given afternoon, you can find an owner sipping a beer behind the bar and chatting up some new customers—or some regulars—or both!  You can catch the warm aroma of grains and steam on the windows, which is particularly comforting in winter.  But most of all, you can be sure to catch employees and brewers alike up to some kind of playful mischief, because let’s face it, we’re all family around here!

So picture all that—but multiply that by about 2,000.  Okay, so maybe there’s no actual brewing happening at the festival, but you get the idea.  It’s really just a giant party of some really, really cool people who all love craft beer.  Which is why we’re so excited to find ourselves at a booth in the festival this year! 

If you haven’t been to GABF (or if you have), and you haven’t been into the taproom in a while, come visit our owners Nick Stafford and Tyler and Brandi Burgei at the Thursday night session!  Tickets are only $85 (for unlimited beer tasters!) and have yet to sell out—that’s way less money than one of our beertenders embarrassingly spent on Ke$ha tickets.

(Okay, it was me.)

If you do have tickets, the owners will be attending the Saturday afternoon session, so stop by the “L” island to say hello!  From Thursday to Saturday, we will be competing with and pouring our Paddle Whaecker Koelsch, Grenade Jumper Hazy IPA, and Ghost Porter, and for those of you who love and miss the Peeled Cucumber Sour, we will be pouring that as well!

And if, for some unfortunate reason, you won’t be attending GABF, you can find a list of other cool official GABF events related to this week’s activities here:

And of course, you can always stop by the taproom and say hi, seven days a week!