Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Beer Days in Denver

The 25th Annual Great American Beer Festival took place in Denver, Colo. last weekend. We were made aware in advance to expect a party, perhaps even some rowdiness. Before the gates opened, we saw swarms of beer enthusiasts lining up outside and we braced ourselves. Within minutes of the festival's opening bell, one poor taster dropped his cup on the concrete floor, setting off a roar of sympathetic "Ohhhhh"s, and thus, the party began.

With approximately 30,000 attendees over three days, the Colorado Convention Center buzzed with non-stop activity. But the driving force that makes the GABF so special is the genuine energy of people collectively interested in one thing—beer. There was the self-proclaimed Beer Counter, an accountant who keeps track of every beer he's tasted (he's at 8,162 now); the Murphy Brothers brought together from three corners of the country (Seattle, Florida, and NYC) who wore identical “Beer is Good” t-shirts all three days; home brewers waxing poetic about their latest brew; and last but not least the volunteers who traded hard labor and long hours for a few 1 oz. pours. While the festival is the party of the decade for many of the attendees, industry sponsors and exhibitors enjoy the GABF like an annual family gathering; they talk about technique, industry news and flash family pictures taken since last year. When the lights went up and crowds headed home, we rested our feet and shared stories of the characters we encountered during the evening.

We surely had our fill of hops & barley at GABF. But when we have our next beer, in 2010 (or maybe this weekend), we’ll fondly look back on what was the best and biggest keg party we ever attended.

If your curious about the winners at this year's fest, visit the GABF 2006 winners page.