GABF is here! What to do outside the big show

It’s here! The week of indulgence, intoxication, and dehydration is upon us. It snuck up on me this year, taking place earlier than years past, and I’m not sure if I’m fully hydrated just yet. But, the Great American Beer Festival and Denver Beer Fest have arrived. Ready or not, bottoms up.

Photo © Brewers Association

Photo © Brewers Association

I’ve been attending this magical festival for 8 years or so. A shorter stint than many, but I’ve learned a thing or two (and forgotten three or four) over the years. The week has changed dramatically, moving from the festival itself and a few gatherings to a week of events, tastings, tappings, festivals, private parties, and many, many new bars. Some of the best experiences have happened while just going with the flow, following some friends around town, and picking up extra passes along the way. Others come at a high dollar cost, with incredible value baked in. Here’s a quick glimpse at how to find the crowds or stay away from them, and some of the events that stand out above the rest.

Beer bars

When in doubt, go to your favorite beer bar. Something will be happening, you’ll know someone there, or you can meet new friends and find out the best next step. You’ll see a trend here – if you can find Casey Blending and Brewing this week, you should.

Falling Rock (1919 Blake Street) is known as HQ this week, with amazing tapping events, underground tastings, a sweet new draft trailer, and the Who’s Who of the craft beer world in attendance. Events of note include: Kickoff Party (Monday); 20 Beers, 20 years (Friday), Casey Blending and Brewing tapping (Saturday); and many, many more. Check out for the schedule.

Star Bar (2137 Larimer Street) tends to be where my friends and I end up. It’s a slightly divier version of the beer bar, with a great focus on spirits as well, which comes in handy when you’re all beer’d out. Events of note include: Karaoke Cup with Ska, Ratio, Stone, Lefthand, Firestone Walker, Boulevard, Dogfish Head, Uinta, and Great Divide (Tuesday); Bells, Cigar City, Sun King and TRVE (Wednesday, various times); Kenny Lagers (Friday); Crooked Stave Artisans Round Up (Friday); Wicked Weed, Lost Abbey, and Avery’s Robe One Out (Saturday).

Fresh Craft (1550 Blake Street) is a quick step from the festival hall, and special events include Sour Monday; Great Divide and New Holland (Tuesday); Upslope takeover (Wednesday); Casey Blending and Brewing and Side Project, followed by Ska and Telluride (Thursday); Boulevard, Cigar City, Stone, Green Flash, and Ballast Point (Friday); Odell, Firestone Walker, and Surly (Saturday). Check our their newsletter for schedule and details.

Euclid Hall (1317 14th Street) has poutine and bone luges. So, there’s that. They also have dozens of taps, an amazing bottle list, and are host to Avery’s Midnight Breakfast.

Hops & Pie (3920 Tennyson St) is a bit further from downtown, but with their beer selection, and more importantly, pizza selection, it’s a great place to spend the afternoon. And it’s walking distance from the newly opened Call To Arms (4526 Tennyson Street), as well at De Steeg (4342 Tennyson Street). Special events include Crooked Stave Artisan portfolio tasting (Wednesday); Sun King (Thursday); Casey Blending and Brewing (Friday); Upslope (Saturday).

Breweries near

There are over 50 breweries within Denver city limits now. And each one has about 50 events this week. If my math is correct, that’s 2.5 million events this week in tap rooms alone. Drop in to some of your favorite tap rooms this week to be surprised by the special tappings likely going on, or check our their social media and websites for a better idea.

Check out the ones in walking distance from downtown, like Jagged Mountain (1139 20th St), Great Divide (2201 Arapahoe St and 1812 35th St), Our Mutual Friend (2810 Larimer St), Ratio (2920 Larimer St), Spangalang (2736 Welton St), Wynkoop (1634 18th St), and more.

Venture slightly out of downtown to get to TRVE (227 Broadway St #101), Crooked Stave (3350 Brighton Blvd), Mockery (3501 Delgany St), Station 26 (7045 E 38th Ave), Grandma’s House (1710 S Broadway), Comrade (7667 E Iliff Ave), Call To Arms (4526 Tennyson Street), Hogshead (4460 W 29th Ave), Fiction (7101 E Colfax Ave), Former Future (1290 S Broadway), and so many more than could be listed.

Breckenridge (2990 Brewery Ln, Littleton) just moved to Littleton, and it is 100% worth the trip. Their new 12 acre location hosts a fantastic restaurant and an incredible brewery tour.

Breweries far

Take a road trip (and have someone else drive) to the breweries outside of Denver. Boulder has almost 20 breweries, and a trip to Avery‘s new brewery and restaurant is a good place to start (4910 Nautilus Ct, Boulder). Some of the biggest names in beer are a quick drive as well, including Oskar Blues (1800 Pike Road, Longmont), New Belgium (500 Linden St, Fort Collins), Odell (800 E Lincoln Ave, Fort Collins), and Golden breweries like Cannonball Creek (393 Washington Ave, Golden), Golden City Brewing (920 12th St, Golden), Mountain Toad (900 Washington Ave, Golden), and Barrels & Bottles (600 12th St #160, Golden).


Of the thousand and twelve events going on this week, here are a few that stand tall. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I highly suggest you check out’s event calendar and Westword’s round up of events, both of which dive much deeper into the ongoings of the week. Some of these events have a high ticket price, and the value is absolutely there. Great American Beer Fest itself is an obvious and sold out choice, though it’s not too hard to find a few extra tickets floating around if you look carefully this week.

Monday, September 21st

Falling Rock Kickoff Party
Location: Falling Rock – 1919 Blake Street
Time: 5:00 PM
Cost: Cost of beer

We kick it all off with our 17th Annual Tapping Party/GABF Week Kickoff at 5pm on Monday the 21st of September which will feature some amazing vintage beers and some new things from new breweries.

More info

Tuesday, September 22nd

The Split EP – A Beer Dinner
Location: Rebel  – 3763 Wynkoop
Time: 7-9:30pm
Cost: $55

Kick off your GABF week with Rebel Restaurant, Ratio Beerworks and TRVE Brewing. The Split EP Beer Dinner will feature 6 courses, each paired with 2 beers, one from each brewery. Be ready for a killer night of punk, metal, and delicious things to put in your mouth.

More info

Wednesday, September 23rd

Bells Tapping
Location: Star Bar – 2137 Larimer Street
Time: 2:00 PM
Cost: Cost of beer

See what all the fuss is about. Go try some Bell’s Brewing at Star Bar.

What the Funk?!
Location: Highlands Masonic Event Center – 3550 Federal Blvd
Time: 5:30pm-10pm
Cost: $90

What the Funk!? is a celebration of all things barrel-aged from boozy and strong to wild, sour, and funky. Sponsored by Denver-based Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, this year’s event will feature over 60 breweries from across the United States and around the world with proceeds benefiting Cancer Climber and Water for People.

More info

Offensively Delicious: A Craft Beer Comedy Show
Location: Oriental Theater – 4335 W 44th Ave
Time: 6-10pm
Cost: $45

Join the masterminds of comedy and craft beer for the 2nd year of Offensively Delicious. Renegade Brewing has collaborated with Sexpot Comedy to invite 10 breweries and four comedians to participate in one of the most unique events in the industry.

More info

Beers Made By Walking
Location: Outside space at Our Mutual Friend – 2810 Larimer St
Time: 4:30-8pm
Cost: $30

Beers Made By Walking (BMBW), the program that invites brewers to create place-based beers inspired by plants found on nature trails, will host their BMBW Denver Festival on Wednesday, September 23. The event is during Great American Beer Festival at the outside space of Our Mutual Friend Brewing Company from 4:30-8pm. Basic Kneads will be the food truck on-site.

More info

Brett Pack
Location: Avery Brewing Company – 4910 Nautilus Ct. N, Boulder, CO
Time: 6:30-9pm
Cost: $125

After a trip to Belgium, brewing buddies Adam Avery, Rob Tod, Sam Calagione, Tomme Arthur and Vinnie Cilurzo were dubbed “The Brett Pack” for their unabashed love of the wild yeast Brettanomyces. During this 5-course meal, all five brewers will present their beers from Avery Brewing, Allagash Brewing, Dogfish Head, Lost Abbey, and Russian River Brewing respectively.

More info

Thursday, September 24th

Midnight Breakfast
Location: Euclid Hall – 1317 14th Street
Time: 10:30pm-2am
Cost: $125

Avery Brewing Company and Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen are welcoming the Great American Beer Festival attendees in great American style for the fifth year with Midnight Breakfast at Euclid Hall right after the first GABF session on Thursday, September 24th. The doors at Euclid Hall kick open at 10:15 and the breakfast gets underway at 10:30 p.m. Tickets for this late night beer breakfast are $125 per person (tax and gratuity included).

More info

Fifty Firkin Fiasco
Location: Epic Brewing – 3001 Walnut Street
Time: 7pm-12am
Cost: $35

Join us for our 3rd Annual Fifty Firkin Fiasco! Our brewers have put together 50 unique firkins for your enjoyment as you wander through the brewery to sample all of them. Be a part of history, be a part of the fun and chaos of this popular event!

More info

The Rare Barrel and Wicked Weed Brewing – Cornhole Tournament
Location: Rino Yacht Club – 3350 Brighton Blvd
Time: 12-4pm
Cost: Cost of beer

Wicked Weed and Rare Barrel will play three rounds of Bags (aka Corn Hole). Whichever team loses must fly to the other brewery to brew a collaboration beer. New Belgium’s Lauren Salazar will be the official Bags Judge.

More info

Evil Twin 50 Tap Takeover
Location: World of Beer – LoDo – 1555 Blake Street Unit 102
Time: 11am-midnight
Cost: Cost of beer

Self explanatory.

More info

Friday, September 25th

Denver Beer Co Collaboration Celebration
Location: Denver Beer Co – Platte Street – 1695 Platte St
Time: 3-9pm
Cost: $30 Wristband to try all 5 beers or $7 per beer

Come celebrate the Great American Beer Festival! We will be introducing 5 collaboration brews and having an awesome block party with live music, food trucks and more!

More info

Kenny Lagers
Location: Star Bar – 2137 Larimer Street
Time: 12-4pm
Cost: Cost of beer

Kenny Lagers is a celebration of all things easy-drinking and easy listening. Recover with us as we throw back some refreshing lagers and blast some yacht rock. Nautical attire is highly recommended.

More info

Miami Weiss
Location: The Hi Dive  – 7 South Broadway
Time: 9pm-close
Cost: $10

Join New Belgium and J. Wakefield Brewing for a GABF party to remember. Music by Bud Bronson and the Goodtimers, DJ Set by Dirty Few, and Charlie Parr. 1990s Miami attire strongly recommended!

More info

Saturday, September 26th

Dr. Bill’s Beer Tasting
Location: Falling Rock – 1919 Blake Street
Time: 8ish
Cost: $40 contribution

Get there early, pace yourself, and have an amazing time tasting beer with Stone’s Cicerone Dr. Bill Sysek.

Crooked Brews and Chef Dudes
Location: Mercantile – 1701 Wynkoop Street
Time: 6-10pm
Cost: $150

Inaugural Mercantile chef / brewer collaborative dinner with Almanac, Bells, Crooked Stave, Jester King, and Prairie.

More info

Whiskey Sour Barrel Hour
Location: Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox – 1215 20th Street
Time: 1-4pm
Cost: $50

This is sure to be a GABF highlight this year. Blender Lauren Salazar and Distiller Todd Leopold host a guided tasting through Leopold Bros. fruited whiskeys paired with corresponding barrel aged sours from New Belgium. Whiskey and beer inspired appetizers from Chef Daniel Asher will also be paired alongside their corresponding flights.

More info


Have fun, stay hydrated, eat food when you can, bring a phone charger, change your shoes, never ever ever drive. Have a great week, we’ll see you out there. 


About PJ Hoberman

PJ likes beer. A lot. And whiskey. Gin. Wine. Cocktails. Um.. what were we talking about?