160 judges from 8 countries, not including the USA. That's what it takes to judge all of the beers at the Great American Beer Festival. While most attendees are preparing, few know of the competition portion of the GABF that goes on in a secure location away from the celebration, prior to the festival.
Last night these beer experts took time to celebrate with a small judges reception at Denver's Rock Bottom Brewery. Chris Swersey, Brewers Association Technical Coordinator and GABF Competition Director describes GABF judges as, "highly trained with beer sensory skills. They are familiar with the diversity of beer styles from around the world. GABF judges are brewers, suppliers, beer writers; all understand what it takes to make a great beer, and also from where even small deviations from style can arise. The GABF judging environment is a highly critical, brutal form of blind evaluation. Winning a GABF medal means all of your hard work has been recognized by your peers."
While at the reception, many used the off time to catch up with old friends, but the topic of beer was rarely absent. Judging runs through Friday with results of the judging announced during the Saturday Afternoon session of the festival.