Lonely Planet Writer

Thousands of beer-lovers head to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival

Beer-lovers are set to descend on Denver to take part in the 2016 Great American Beer Festival from 6 to 8 October.

The Great American Beer Festival will be held in Denver.
The Great American Beer Festival will be held in Denver. Image by © Brewers Association

The 35th annual event is described as the “premiere beer festival and competition in the US” with 60,000 people expected to head to the Colorado Convention Centre. The festival gives attendees the chance to sample from 3800 different beers from more than 800 breweries from around the country. But, the event is about more than just sampling the products, there are also food pairing events, social activities and talks about beer-making.

The Great American Beer Festival will be held in Denver.
The Great American Beer Festival will be held in Denver. Image by © Brewers Association

With such a large festival happening in Denver, the city also goes all out in the days leading up it. This year marks the eighth annual Denver Beer Fest, which celebrates the city’s local offerings and is held each year in the lead-up to the festival. This year’s festival kicked off on Friday, 30 September and runs for nine days, featuring almost 200 events, some of which include pre-parties for the Great American Beer Festival.

The skyscrapers in the skyline of Denver, Colorado at sunset.
The skyscrapers in the skyline of Denver, Colorado at sunset. Image by Ben Klaus/Getty Images

High up in the Rocky Mountains, the city is remarkably well-suited for a huge beer-based event. According to Visit Denver: “there are now more than 60 breweries in Denver, more than 100 in the metro area and some 350 throughout the state; and Denver brews more beer than any other American city – more than 200 unique beers are produced and served every day in Denver’s tap houses, brew pubs, breweries and gastro pubs”.

The Great American Beer Festival will be held in Denver.
The Great American Beer Festival will be held in Denver. Image by © Brewers Association

Unfortunately, tickets to the Great American Beer Fest sold out in an hour earlier this summer, so would-be attendees must start planning for next year. But anyone travelling through Denver can still check out all the local beer the city has to offer. To kick off Denver Beer Fest, Visit Denver unveiled the latest edition of the Denver Beer Trail, a map that leads travellers to local breweries throughout the city.