The 2023 Great American Beer Festival kicks-off today with over 2,000 beers from nearly 500 breweries being poured at the Colorado Convention Center along with a couple of new twists being introduced by the Brewers Association this year.
For the first time, the festival features beverages other than beer, including cider, seltzer and kombucha. This is new territory for the BA who are opening up the ability for breweries to showcase their ‘beyond beer’ offerings.
The BA is also going back to breweries being roughly organizing on the pavilion floor by geographic region, rather than alphabetically like a year ago.
And if you thought it was normally crowded in town during the GABF, this year’s GABF coincides with Denver’s Oktoberfest celebration.
The festival also features the usual off-site events, many of which are hosted by the 160 metro Denver breweries. This year there will be over 200 off-site events.
The GABF is again super-sized this year and is in fact slightly larger than previous years with new beer and entertainment pavilions covering roughly 437,500 square feet. There will also be eight taprooms throughout the festival, which include;
Collab Country + Pro-Am
This section will have collaboration beers between breweries, as well as home brewer-brewery collaborations. These are often fun beers of a high caliber, making it worth a stop.
The fest will offer over two dozen gluten-free beers in one section, including five from local brewery Holidaily.
2023 Heavy Medal
Medal winners from past GABF and World Beer Cup awards are being poured in this section.
A new addition, international breweries will be highlighted in a partnership with Elite Brands, a sponsoring distributor. Sixteen beers will be poured from five breweries.
National Black Brewers Association
Another first. Four Black-owned breweries from four different states are represented here, with twelve different beers being poured.
This section will include 32 offerings from a variety of both local and national breweries. From hop water to N/A IPAs.
United in Beer
The State Guild representatives will be located here. An essential stop to learn more about legislative activities that may impact the craft brewing industry on a state level.
Wish We Were Here
A place for breweries that wanted to attend but couldn’t make it, so they sent their beer instead.
And as usual, the event ends with the Awards Ceremony which will take place Saturday, starting at 10:00 am MT. You can watch the ceremony live streamed here.