Reflecting on the 35th Year of the Great American Beer Festival®

The 35th Great American Beer Festival® (GABF) was one for the record books. As the biggest ticketed beer festival in the U.S., the GABF offers the largest selection of American beers available for sampling under one roof.

From its humble beginnings in 1982, the festival has continued to grow in size and scope. As GABF founder and Brewers Association past president Charlie Papazian recounted in a Chicago Tribune interview, “The festival has evolved over the years, but what hasn’t changed is the excitement, particularly when people first enter the hall; that electricity was there in 1982 and continues to be present today. The crowds are bigger, but what has [also] changed—and which is why we’re still here 35 years later—is that we’ve adapted to the culture. Not only the beer culture, but the culture we live in: our communities and friendships and how we communicate.”

The GABF competition, celebrating its 30th year, is the largest commercial beer competition in the world. Judges from 12 countries evaluated more than 7,000 beers in 2016. During Saturday’s award ceremony, 286 medals were presented to 254 brewers.

Next year’s festival will be held October 5-7, 2017.

Great American Beer Festival

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