Jul 12, 2022 - Food and Drink

GABF returns to Denver this year but with fewer tickets and beers

Beer flows at the annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver
Beer flows at the annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver. Photo courtesy of the Brewers Association

Denver's annual celebration of craft beer is a little less beery this year.

What to know: The Great American Beer Festival returns in October after a two-year pandemic hiatus with 20,000 fewer tickets and 300 fewer breweries.

  • Tickets — priced at $95 per session — go on sale to the public at 10am Wednesday.

What's happening: The Colorado Convention Center, the festival's home since 2000, is undergoing renovations that will reduce the event's size by one-third, limiting tickets by the same proportion to 40,000 over four sessions.

Yes, but: You won't go thirsty.

Over 500 brewers will pour more than 1,500 beers over the three-day event hosted by the Boulder-based Brewers Association, a craft beer industry trade group.

  • "It's still the largest ticketed beer festival in the U.S. and with 40,000 people, one of the larger events in Denver since COVID," the association's Ann Obenchain told the Denver Post.

Flashback: The festival is marking its 40th anniversary since launching in 1982 with just 24 breweries and 47 beers.

Be smart: Saturday's members-only session is the best to attend because you get to meet beer luminaries and drink with an educated crowd. Otherwise, Thursday and Friday are preferable because they are less hectic.

  • New this year, you can attend the amazing Paired event without participating in the main festival. The side event matches food from 25 chefs with beers from 25 breweries not featured in the main hall.
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