Great American Beer Festival, Denver Colorado
The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is a three-day annual event hosted by the Brewers Association held at the end of September or the beginning of October in Denver, Colorado. The GABF brings visitors from around the world to sample more than 1,600 different American beers. Over 100 beer judges from the United States and abroad participate in the evaluations of one or more beer styles, ultimately judging 2,300 beers entered by more than 450 domestic breweries. Gold, silver and bronze medals in 69 beer-style categories are awarded, though not every medal is awarded in each category. This festival is the largest out of the top 10 beer festivals.
Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland, Oregon
The OBF served 73 different craft beers from 18 states across the country. The top selling product for the third year running was Cascade Brewing’s Razberry Wheat out of Southwest Portland. Another light, refreshing fruit beer to sell out early was Hell or High Watermelon by San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewery. Portland’s Widmer Brothers Brewing sold a large quantity of its Full Nelson, an Imperial IPA brewed specifically for the OBF. The OBF is my personal favorite out of the top 10 beer festival.
Brewgrass Festival in Asheville, North Carolina
Each year in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, we gather over 40 American breweries to showcase more than 120 different beers. We add a great lineup of national and regional bluegrass musicians that, in the past, has included such notables as Cadillac Sky, Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Infamous String Dusters, Dry Branch Fire Squad, J.D. Crowe, The Osborne Brothers, Norman Blake, Tony Trischka, Jim Lauderdale, Valerie Smith, Tony Furtado, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Sons Of Ralph. We also feature a variety of area food vendors and plenty of water. gon
Bock Fest, New Ulm, MN
February 28th, 1987 marked the first Bock Fest held at Schell’s. 120 family and friends of the brewery made their way onto the brewery grounds, finding refuge in the warmth of the old tap room. Inside the bottlehouse, a small stage located next to the drop packer hosted Smiley Wilcheck and his mother as they serenaded the crowd with polka music. Festers were welcome to cook their own brat at the grill and a roaster filled with sauerkraut provided the small group of people nourishment as they drank Bock beer to celebrate the end of winter. A hefty 7- ½ barrels were consumed at the first Bock Fest. Schell’s brewery has since grown larger and so has the festival. Swarms of adoring fans of the brewery make the annual pilgrimage to Schell’s to brave the winter weather. The festival has since moved outdoors as the sizeable crowd now reaches 6,000 people. But while the size of the crowd has changed, some things have not. This is definitely the coldest of the top 10 beer festivals.
Great Taste of the Midwest, Madison, Wis.
The Great Taste of the Midwest is one of the premier beer festivals in the United States. Over one hundred brewpubs and microbreweries from the Midwest attend each year to share beer and good times with five thousand patrons overlooking beautiful lake Monona in Olin-Turville Park in Madison, Wisconsin.
Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival, Anchorage, Alaska
Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival brings together 40+ breweries, 150+ beers and over 4000 folks to celebrate big winter beers in the midst of a dark, dreary near-Arctic winter. A $30 entry fee buys you a commemorative glass, beer tasting tickets and a very detailed program guide to all beers at the event.
Fresh Hop Ale Festival, Yakima, Washington
For a brew to be considered a “fresh hop ale” for the festival competition, it must be produced with hops that were picked no more than 24 hours prior to brewing (talk about overnight shipping!). Fresh Hop Ale is produced throughout the month of September, timing dependent on the growth of each year’s hop harvest. Brewers then bring their freshly brewed kegs of beer to the fest, where a panel of judges selects first, second and third place Fresh Hop Ales. Festival-goers vote with their taste buds— a “Most Pours Award” crowns the crowd favorite.
Classic City Brewfest, Athens, GA
The Classic City Brew-Fest offers a huge variety of beers to sample from all over the world including world-class, gourmet, strong beers! This year’s festival will be an enjoyable, intimate and comfortable way to taste and learn about these exciting beers. Details on beer brewing and styles are stressed at the event — along with information on responsible drinking. Attendees can also enjoy live music, non-alcohol drinks, and purchase delicious food items from the Athens Steam Company Pub booth.
Presented by the Brewers Association, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience is the premier beer and food pairing event in the U.S. Following its New York City debut in 2013, the seventh annual SAVOR returns to Washington, D.C. Attendees will enjoy beers from 76 small and independent American craft breweries, hailing from 29 different states and representing all regions of the country. Along with innovative and flavorful craft beers, SAVOR offers a diverse and delicious array of food pairings designed by Brewers Association culinary consultant Chef Adam Dulye, co-owner/chef of San Francisco’s The Monk’s Kettle and The Abbot’s Cellar.
Philly Craft Beer Festival, Philadelphia, Pa.
Come experience the flavors of award-winning breweries from across the country – from highly-acclaimed local beers by Yards, Victory, Nodding Head and Dogfish Head to great brews from special guests like Rogue, Stone, Ommegang, Southampton, and He’Brew. 50 Breweries and over 120 beers.
Vermont Brewers Festival, Burlington, Vt.
The Vermont Brewers Festival is the longest running outdoor brewers festival in the East, and it’s no wonder since Vermont is home to more breweries per capita than any other state. Brewers’ participating in this event do so by invitation only, based on brewery capacity, distinctiveness, and quality of their products. Enjoy a wide range of offerings, including traditional lagers, ales, and unique products such as fruit beers, barleywines, and Belgian-style white beers.
Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival – Silverado, CA
The annual Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival is held in Oak Canyon Park. In 2017, this festival had more than 250 craft and import beer samplings from over 90 breweries. They also will offer a ‘Rare Beer Section’ ticket for the super craft fans to sample extremely rare and special release beers. Brew Ha Ha Productions is extending their popular free shuttle service to Brew Ha Ha festivalgoers. The shuttle service will take attendees FROM the event to the Tustin Metrolink Station where guests can easily catch a Lyft, Uber, cab, bus or train to their final destination.
Where the Wild Beers Are – Minneapolis, MN and New York, NY
Where the Wild Beers is the best single-style beer festival. This wild rumpus gets rid of kegs or even official brewers and invites funky-ale-loving drinkers to provide the beer for the bi-annual fests. Every 750ml bottle of sour, wild, or farmhouse beer you bring can be traded in for 10 drink tickets. Generous drinkers with hard-to-nab bottles can get extra pours.
Belgium Comes to Cooperstown, Cooperstown, N.Y.
Each summer, the brewery hosts a large beer-tasting event, known as Belgium Comes to Cooperstown. The event, which occurs on a Saturday in July, includes four hours of unlimited beer sampling of over 200 Belgian and Belgian-style beers, followed by food, live music, and a bonfire.
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