Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
Today I’m flying out to Denver, Colorado for the 30th annual Great American Beer Festival, the largest gathering of craft brewers in the US. We at Urban Oyster have really enjoyed becoming a part of the local craft beer community in New York City and introducing so many people to craft beer through our Brewed in Brooklyn Tour, Fermented NY Craft Beer Crawls, and our Craft Beer Cruises with Manhattan by Sail. We feel that we’ve been a part of this revolution in beer that seems to be gaining more and more momentum with each passing year. So we are headed out to Denver to learn even more about the industry, meet with brewers, talk shop, and probably toss back a few in the process. In order to bring that experience back to you our readers I’ll be writing a post each day about my experiences at the festival, the people I’ve met, and the beer I’ve tried so that you too will be inspired to join the craft beer revolution (or if you already have, to at least go out and enjoy some local craft beer that day).
For those of you who have not been to a Great American Beer Fest (or have not even heard of it), it all started back in 1982 with just 800 attendees crammed into 5,000 square foot space. 30 years later, the festival has sold out at 49,000 attendees, and is held at Denver's 300,000 square foot convention center. Back then, only a committed few were interested in craft beer, and the number of brewers operating across the country was near its historic low point, with fewer than 50 breweries nationwide. The Beer Fest is hosted by the Brewers Association, which represents and promotes craft beer in the US. By their count, there are now 1,790 breweries in the country – a number not seen since well before Prohibition – all but 50 of whom are defined as craft brewers. We live in blessed times. Other key stats about the festival include:
• 466 breweries serving the beer (another record)
• 3,900+ beers will be judged in 83 different categories by 169 judges (yep, all records)
The festival will also feature a number of interest areas – I’ll be headed over to the Farm to Table Pavilion, where I’ll join chefs and small and independent brewers as they discuss and pair craft beer with dishes created with locally grown ingredients (anyone that has been to our beer tasting events knows that I have a passion for this topic). Look for my post about that experience this Saturday.
We hope you enjoy this series and we look forward to your comments, stories and insights.
Read Dave's other blog posts from GABF: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
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