What to look forward to at the Great American Beer Festival

"I almost felt like I was cheating on my husband.  My night out was not a rendezvous with another man, but instead at the Great American Beer Festival," said Faith Mangan. "After I guiltily left my American IPA-loving mate at home this past weekend, I made my way to Denver's Colorado Convention Center for what’s been touted as the world's largest commercial beer competition and the country's largest ticketed beer festival."

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    Beer varieties

    More than 3,000 different beers are showcased at GABF. Breweries have to be commercially operating and licensed in the United States to get into GABF.
    Faith Mangan
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    GABF souvenirs

    Get your souvenirs early on because the line to pick out t-shirts can stretch rather long as sessions came to a close.  
    Faith Mangan
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    Convention Hall

    The convention hall is laid out mostly by regions for beers.
    Faith Mangan
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    Ice cold beers

    Brewers also pour ice cold beer from cans and bottles, in addition to drafts.
    Faith Mangan
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    Beers and beads

    Beer companies give out holders for tasting glasses.  Mardi Gras beads help the can holders hang around people's necks.
    Faith Mangan
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    Silent Disco

    At the Silent Disco, dancers get headsets to rock out, only bystanders have no idea what they're dancing to.
    Faith Mangan
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    Marriage ceremonies

    One brewery offers mock and real marriage ceremonies.
    Faith Mangan
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    Brewery signage

    Breweries have a wide range of signage and booths. More than 700 breweries participate. The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is in its 33rd year and keeps growing each year.
    Faith Mangan
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    Beer jewelry

    GABF attendees can even shop for jewelry made from recycled beer caps and cans.
    Faith Mangan
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    Festival volunteers

    Volunteer beer crew serve beer at sessions and earn free tickets.
    Faith Mangan
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    American Cheese Society

    One of the longer lines at the festival, for a buffet of cheese samples from the American Cheese Society.
    Faith Mangan
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    Grilled peach and sour beer

    You can take a break and sit in on educational seminars, such as pairing cookout foods with beer. This is a grilled peach served with sour beer.
    Faith Mangan
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    49,000 total attend, an average of 12,000 per session.
    Faith Mangan
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    Beer and food demos

    There are other opportunities for fun and learning, besides drinking your dinner. Ticket holders can attend demos.
    Faith Mangan
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    Tasting glass holders

    Many attendees pick up free tasting glass holders and hang the necklaces around their necks.  It's considered a big no-no to let your tasting glass drop to the floor.
    Faith Mangan
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    Beer goggles

    One man literally brought his "beer goggles."
    Faith Mangan
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    Oktoberfest costumes

    Oktoberfest styled costumes are popular.
    Faith Mangan
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    Group costumes

    It's not uncommon for groups of friends to coordinate their costumes.
    Faith Mangan
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    Hops hat

    One of the more unusual headgear items, a hops hat.
    Faith Mangan
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    Hair hops

    Serious beer drinkers weave hops into their hair.
    Faith Mangan
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    Bavarian hats

    Bavarian style hats are popular.
    Faith Mangan
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    Beer warrior

    A beer drinking warrior.
    Faith Mangan
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    Snack necklaces

    A hearty version of the edible pretzel necklaces, adding cheese sticks is a tasty twist.
    Faith Mangan
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    Faith Mangan
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    Face paint

    Face paint mixes nicely with kilts. 
    Faith Mangan
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