The 2018 Great American Beer Festival Survival Guide

One of craft beer’s most exciting events kicks off today in Denver. And most veterans know that you’re not going to survive the Great American Beer Festival without a strategy…But that’s where we come in.

If you believe the Guinness Book of World Records (and who doesn’t) there is no other place on earth where a beer lovers can find more beers to sample than at the GABF.

And with more than 4000 unique beers from over 800 of the nation’s finest breweries served in a cavernous space that’s roughly the size of eight football fields, one needs to be prepared to navigate this monster.

So here’s some GABF survival essentials…

Eat Breakfast Before You Do Anything

Hey we get it…you came to drink, and drinking starts early at the GABF.

But don’t ever enter the Convention Hall without having consumed a large breakfast because once you start drinking you won’t be thinking food until it’s already too late.

 

Drink Water And Then Drink More Water

We mention this every year because water is so critical to surviving what can be several days of heavy drinking.

An event of this scale startles first-timers and encourages rookie mistakes…don’t make that mistake.

Sample Don’t Guzzle

With over 4000 beers to sample, there’s plenty to try… but if you show some restraint and you’ll be able to cover more ground. And if you don’t love what you’re drinking,  dump it immediately… (That’s what those buckets are for).

Using this disciplined strategy you’ll be able to negotiate days of drinking and avoid staggering around the convention hall like a frat boy.

Plan Precisely (or Don’t)

There are two schools of thought when it comes to navigating the GABF and we tend to come down solidly on both sides.

Some argue strongly for a targeted plan and studying the floor plan deliberately before you hit your first session.

If you opt for the more targeted approach having a map in hand is always useful (assuming you can hang on to it). And downloading  the GABF app (Apple or Android) is also pretty essential (again assuming you don’t get so buzzed that your phone gets misplaced) which unfortunately does happen.

Others take a more Zen approach to this massive outing and go wherever the flow takes them…After all, most of the breweries attending will be fun to hang with and all of them will be serving their best beers.

But If you opt for a more intuitive approach, we still one suggestion…Work the outsides of the hall first…. For some reason these outpost locations are the last to get crowded and you’ll have a more peaceful experience.

But no matter your approach, try to arrive at any drinking session early…Why wait in line, only to wait in other beer lines later?

All Photo credits:  ‘Photo © Brewers Association

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