With less than two months until the return of Denver’s Great American Beer Festival, drinkers now know which breweries will be pouring samples at the Colorado Convention Center from Oct. 6 to 8.
Last week, the Brewers Association released a preliminary list of 380 beer makers that will be attending the event, from stalwarts such as Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to Colorado’s newly revived Howdy Beer, which will also bring a mechanical bull to the event.
Due to construction at the convention center, GABF’s footprint is about 200,000 square feet smaller compared to pre-pandemic years, spokesperson Ann Obenchain told The Post in June. That means the number of attending breweries has also been reduced. In 2019, 800 breweries were represented on the festival floor, according to the Brewers Association, which throws the event. The 2022 fest is expected to host about 500.
So far, the brewery list is heavy on Colorado and California attendees, while several other states such as Vermont and North Carolina will showcase just one to five breweries. The preliminary lists shows no breweries from Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, or South Dakota as being featured on the festival floor.
At least three non-alcoholic beer makers — Ceria Brewing Co. and Gruvi, both based in Colorado, and Athletic Brewing — are slated to pour at the event.
In addition to the usual booth setup, GABF will have three special “taprooms” onsite. That’s what the Brewers Association is calling areas dedicated to serving beers that fit within a theme.
Collaboration Nation, for example, is where attendees can find limited-edition collab recipes from commercial breweries, as well as those created in partnership with homebrewers. The Heavy Medal taproom focuses on past GABF and World Beer Cup winners, while Wish We Were Here showcases breweries that couldn’t attend the festival, but still sent some of their beer. Breweries lists for each taproom are TBA.
In addition to a smaller footprint, GABF has capped attendance at 40,000 people. That’s fewer tickets than the festival sold in 2012, and still, it has yet to sell out.
Paul Myhill, who we consider a Colorado beer expert since he visited every brewery in the state earlier this year, is going to GABF this fall, but knows several folks who aren’t “feeling it.”
“The two years off, and 300 fewer breweries this year, is certainly a factor, plus I think people really binged on other festivals after everything opened up again,” Myhill said. “As strange as it seems, there’s an air of ‘festival fatigue’ out there as a result. For folks from out of state, higher travel costs are also a pretty big consideration this year.”
Tickets to attend GABF on Oct. 6 are still available ($95), as are tickets for the chef-focused food and beer event, Paired ($129-$199), on the same day. Buy them via axs.com.
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