KYC at the Great American Beer Festival 2019

Last week and weekend, Scott and I attended the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. It provided us with a great opportunity to get some in person meetings with reporters from the beer media world. We met up with quite a few of them, including editors and writers for Craft Beer & Brewing, Good Beer Hunting, Hop Culture, October, and The Takeout. We also were able to get face time with people from the beer Instagram world.

An added bonus for me was having the opportunity to serve as a judge of the North American Guild of Beer Writers Awards. These awards honor the best work of beer writers from around the world (even though the title says North America…). The judging took place prior to GABF, but the awards were held during the festival. It was a really cool opportunity, and quite an honor since judges are chosen by the Guild reporters and writers. 

The festival itself was huge. Held in the colossal Colorado Convention Center, GABF welcomed, from what I’ve heard, more than 60,000 people in total to sample beers from around the country. It was a rare opportunity to try beers from such a broad range of breweries, yet it was also very overwhelming. Once you entered, any game plan you may have had in mind quickly went out the door as crowds piled up. The most buzzed about breweries expectedly developed long, long lines. So if you planned on hitting those up, the lines may have driven you elsewhere.

What I enjoyed most about the festival was actually what happened outside of the officially sanctioned GABF. Denver during GABF is the prime place for networking. At any random restaurant, bar, or brewery, you’d run into people from the industry. Many establishments held special tap takeovers or events specifically for GABF attendees. These environments were great for conversations and getting to know new people.

If you’re curious, we agreed that the best breweries we visited during GABF were Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Our Mutual Friend Brewing, and Ursula Brewery.

The most exciting part of every GABF is the medal ceremony. This year three KYC clients attended, and two of them medaled. Big congratulations to Von Ebert Brewing for winning Gold in the Specialty Saison category for Obeisance, its blended farmhouse ale, and also to Lone Pine Brewing for winning Bronze in the Juicy or Hazy Imperial IPA category for Chaos Emeralds, its DIPA.