The 34th Great American Beer Festival takes place September 24 to 26 in Denver, Co. and represents the largest collection of U.S. made beers served at any public tasting event. More than 60,000 attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy samples from more than 3,500 beers from 750 breweries from across the U.S. It is an incredible event that sells out each year in a matter of hours.
The GABF also serves as one of the world’s most prestigious beer competitions. Gold, silver and bronze medals for excellence are awarded to the best beers in 90 beer-style categories. For 2014, 1,309 breweries submitted 5,507 beers for judging.
Montana breweries pouring samples at the GABF are:
Big Sky Brewing Co. (Missoula)
Canyon Creek Brewing Co. (Billings)
Carters Brewery (Billings)
Draught Works Brewing Co. (Missoula)
Meadowlark Brewing Co. (Sidney)
Red Lodge Ales (Red Lodge)
Many other Montana breweries have likely submitted beers to the competition portion of the GABF, but information about entries is not released. We’ll have to wait for the awards ceremony on Saturday morning to see how they did. Last year, Missoula’s Draught Works Brewery won Very Small Brewery of the Year (fewer than 1,000 bbls brewed in the previous year) after taking the gold medal in the American-Style Pale Ale category.
According to a press release from the Brewers Association, the 2015 GABF also offers other educational and entertaining events including the new CraftBeer.com Experience, a 2,500 square-foot pavilion packed with interactive stations about the art and science of brewing and the enjoyment of beer. The stations include Sit & Sip, an opportunity to sit with brewers and hear about their beers; You Be the Judge, where participants learn how to taste and evaluate a beer like a certified beer judge; Craft Beer Deconstructed, where beer ingredient suppliers will have samples and info about the beer ingredients used; and Art of Craft Beer, where some of Denver’s most talented artists create art inspired by craft beer from small and independent brewers.
Good luck to all the Montana breweries in the GABF competition!