Report from the Great American Beer Festival by BoozeNews intrepid reporter, Beer Chaser

on 20/09/10 at 3:55 am

Beer, BoozeBlog

Imagine the importance of  Vatican City to Catholics, Jerusalem to Jews, or Mecca to Muslims and you will have some idea of what Denver meant from September 16th to the 18th to craft beer aficionados. For those three days, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) gathered over 40,000 people to sample 2,000 beers from 450 breweries. Happy imbibers from around the world gathered in solidarity to taste and discuss the best beer that American has to offer. I use the word “solidarity” because it would be hard to come away from the GABF experience  without feeling that the craft beer movement is just that, a movement.

A year ago when I attended my first GABF, the demographics of the crowd were much more constrained but  just as boisterous. This year’s crowd, still over whelming white,  had a much wider range of age groups and a great deal more women.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to describe craft beer lovers as being male nerds between 25 and 40. While  hardly a scientifically based observation, I noted that  there was still no waiting time for the ladies room and a good 10 minutes for the men’s room, that woman made up at least 25% of this year’s crowd as opposed to around 15% last year.

The event is sponsored by the Brewers Association  whose purpose is “to promote and protect small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts”.  There are four tasting sessions lasting four and a half hours each spread out over three days. In addition to these are a host of other events throughout the week. It is literally possible to attend a beer tasting of some kind 18 hours a day.

My favorite event outside of the GABF is sponsored by Pints for Prostates. This year they had two rare beer tasting’s on the same day. Being of a philanthropic nature, I felt obliged to attend both. The first of these lasted a reasonable three hours. While it is unlikely you would be able to buy these beers commercially, it is a great experience to meet the brewers and sample some extraordinary beer. Go to http://www.pintsforprostates.org/ to learn more about this great organization and, incidentally, see the selection of beers that were offered. I managed to sample everyone in spite of the personal burden this imposed. They were all great beers but my favorites were Founders Nemesis 2010 by Founders Brewing Company and Deschutes Double Black Butte Porter XXII.

Stay tuned for the next installment as  Beer Chaser recovers from tasting 2000 beers…or thereabouts… and will be back with more news about the fabulous GABF.

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