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6 tips you must know to score GABF tickets

GABFmedia_02To many beer-lovers, the Great American Beer Festival is the end-all, be-all of beer festivals. It is the epitome of what a beer festival should be and beer nirvana all rolled into one massive event. It is also a very difficult ticket to purchase and, once a ticket is procured, an even more difficult event to navigate.

With just  five months to the 2017 festival, this year’s event takes place October 5-7, will need a plan for attending this event. Tickets go on sale to the general public August 2 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time through Ticketmaster.

Last year, tickets to the GABF 2016 sold out in just one hour and seven minutes. That means you have to put some serious effort into getting your entry media. Fortunately, there are several ways you can give yourself an advantage over the unwashed masses.

  1. Mark your calendar and take time off.
    Since tickets go on sale on a Wednesday morning, if you work regular hours, you might want to take the morning off. You’ll know by 10:00 a.m. if you have tickets or not, so if you want to work the afternoon, just take a half day. Or, if you want to celebrate (or, heaven forbid, commiserate), take the whole day off and have a few beers in the afternoon.
  2. Check your account.
    A few days prior to the sale date, log in to Ticketmaster and make sure all of your information is up-to-date. Keep in mind, that if you do get through and get a chance to purchase tickets, you will only have a few minutes to complete your transaction. Nothing is more depressing than getting through and finding out that the credit card you have on file is expired.
  3. Get membership benefits.
    Consider joining the American Homebrewers Association. Members of the AHA can purchase GABF tickets a day before tickets go on sale to the general public. This is a huge advantage and practically assures you to score tickets. And, with membership to the AHA costing as little as $38 a year, it is a good investment. Not to mention you will get a whole host of benefits including six issues of Zymurgy, the Association’s magazine, discounts and, of course, early access to GABF tickets.
  4. Log in early.
    The interweb is going to be packed on the day of GABF ticket sales and this often means lag. By connecting early you increase your chance of getting through and avoiding long lag times that could cause your browser to crash. Plan on being online at least 45 minutes or more ahead of sale time.
  5. Enlist your friends.
    The Beatles famously said that they, “Get by with a little help from my friends.” Getting tickets for GABF is just the situation you want to put this phrase to work. Since each person that gets through can purchase up to four tickets, get your friends to help with the chase. If you have four friends that want to go, get all of them on their computers trying like mad. If just one of your cabal gets through and succeeds in acquiring tickets, your mission is accomplished.


    Pro Tip: Be sure all of your friends have Ticketmaster accounts and make sure they log in to check their status a few days prior to the sale date.

  6. Refresh as if you life depended on it.If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This is particularly true in this instance. You are battling thousands of other hopeful attendees for the few coveted GABF tickets that exist. If you get an error, just keep refreshing. With luck, you will hit refresh at the precise moment an Internet connection opens and your GABF dreams will come true.

If, after doing all of the above, you still do not manage to grab tickets, there are secondary markets. Sure, you’ll pay more for the tickets, but if you really want to go, that may be your only outlet. Just stay away from Craigslist and any other unverified ticket agency. You do not want to be the guy that shows up at the door with a counterfeit ticket and be denied admission.

Watch for more articles on how to get the most out of your GABF experience.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2017 in Beer, Beer Festival, Travel

 

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Brewers Association standing up to breweries, beers with offensive names, labels

BA_logoThe Brewers Association, a trade group that serves the craft beer industry, has taken a rather harsh stance on beer names and labels that straddle or cross the line of good taste.

At a press briefing held during the Craft Brewers Conference on Wednesday, the BA it would ban breweries that use offensive or sexist names and labels from using BA intellectual property such as World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Fest awards and medals in advertising.

“We want our members to be responsible corporate citizens,” said Bob Pease, Brewers Association president and CEO. “We want to err on the side of tolerance.”

The policy comes at a time when the United States is at a heightened sense of political correctness. Gender-shaming, racist remarks and innuendo are no longer acceptable in this country.

Pease does allow that there is a vast “grey area” that the move will have to navigate.

“It’s not going to be black and white,” he explained. “There’s a subjective element to that. And the Association… we’re going to find ways to be inclusive. But at the same time, we do think this step is the right thing to do and shows the leadership that is needed. But it’s gonna be sticky. It’s going to be hard.”

Breweries with names or labels that could be found lewd, offensive or demeaning will undergo a review conducted by an independent panel. The alleged name or label will be examined and a decision will be issued in a report that will be published to the BA website.

If a name or label falls outside of the BA’s acceptable policy, the brewer will be banned from using BA intellectual property in advertising of any sort. In addition, should the brewery win a medal at a BA sanctioned event such as the World Beer Cup or Great American Beer Festival, the name of the beer or brewery will not be announced publicly.

 

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2017 in Beer, Beer News

 

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Characters abound at GABF 2015

For many, dressing to attend the Great American Beer Festival is simply a matter of pulling on a pair of jeans and slipping on a favorite brewery t-shirt. And, the majority of attendees to the festival are dressed in these mundane garments garnering little to no real attention. But, for those who crave the limelight, who seek attention and who have a bit of a wild side, the dress code extends to more exotic apparel.  For those brave and outrageous souls, a mere pair of lederhosen is something an amateur would wear.  Outlandish costumes range from Where’s Waldo garb to full mascot outfits.

Here are just a few of the characters I ran into at this year’s Great American Beer Festival.

The answer to the eternal question,

the answer to the eternal question, “Where’s Waldo?” is answered; he is at GABF.

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Shark infested waters?

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Captain Hops

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Even the Brits are stylin’ at GABF.

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Bears, oh my!

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The pope may have been in Philly, but St. Arnold was in Denver.

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The kilted gang play their pipes.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2015 in Beer Festival

 

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5 Brewery taprooms in one day kicks GABF week off in style

While not the official fist day of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), yesterday was my first day in Denver since the 2012 GABF. As the plane descended, I could see the mountains to the west and the excitement of the week came to a peak. My calendar is full and I will have plenty to report back.

On my first day in Denver, I spent time with my daughter and her fiance on an impromptu brewery taproom crawl. In all, we visited five taprooms, each with a very different vibe and delicious brews.

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Jagged Mountain taproom

Our first stop was Jagged Mountain Brewery. The corner spot this brewery occupies is just blocks from the main core of busy downtown Denver and features plenty of windows for imbibers to watch as people and traffic filter by outside. Inside the taproom is a rustic mixture of wood and brick. The staff is a cheerful lot with plenty of suggestions for new guests and directions to other breweries nearby when needed.

At Jagged Mountain I tried their Thunder Thighs Quad. At 12.8% ABV, this was the perfect beer to begin our long day of exploring the downtown Denver beer scene. The brew sports aromas of caramel and plums upfront and a slight peppery note hidden in the background.  The first sip reveals sweet bready malt flavors with a balanced light hop bitterness.

After a short walk just a few blocks up the street, we wandered into the very lively taproom of Great Divide. Anyone who has a Great Divide brew IMG_2295knows that the brewery makes some truly awesome beers. The taproom itself is in a corner building with windows set high on the wall. As the bright Colorado sunlight streamed in we started a conversation with guests from Philadelphia also in town for GABF.

Here I sipped the brewery’s Hoss a crisp rye lager loosely based on the German marzen style. The brewery’s website describe Hoss: “Rich, layered malt notes, with hints of cherry and dark fruits, dominate, while the unique addition of rye imparts a slightly earthy, spicy character.”

Our next brewery required a rather lengthy walk and a short bus ride, but when we found ourselves in front of the Denver Beer Company, I realized the walk was worth it. Situated on the opposite side of the Platt river from downtown, the taproom is features a large indoor area open to the outdoors and a large outdoor veranda.

On the tap list we discovered several seasonal brews and to my delight a blackberry sour ale labeled Brewhaha! The beer was delightfully bright in the glass and full of berry aromas. The flavor was bury BlackBerry with a slight sour note at the end.

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The copper brewhouse at Prost Brewery.

Another short walk and we found ourselves at Prost Brewing. On a previous visit to Denver I found this German brewery and fell in love with it. The owners spared no expense to import a genuine copper brewhouse from Germany and have worked diligently to remain true to its Bavarian roots. The taproom is festooned with Oktoberfest banners and picnic tables.

The beer list at Prost is dominated by authentic German lagers. I had both the marzen and kolsch. Both brews tasted just as they should and I found myself not wanting to leave.

Our final brewery was a surprise brewery that my future son-in-law realized we were near as we arrived at an event. De Steeg is literally a hidden gem located in a back ally. One would not know it was there if someone else did not tell you about it. But, this no frills taproom features a full slate of extreme brews with only a Berliner Weiss sporting and ABV below 7.8%. Every brew I tasted at this brewery was phenomenal. Of particular note was its Peach Tripel.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2015 in Beer Festival

 

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Countdown to GABF 2015: Coverage Update

 

gabf2015Less than two weeks to go until the Great American Beer Festival begins and the events are lining up. On nearly a daily basis invitations to tastings, receptions and interviews are rolling in. If you have ever wanted to see what goes on at GABF, but have been unable to attend, you can count on extensive coverage here and on my various social media accounts. Look for images via Instagram, live Facebook and Twitter posts, video reports and live, streaming video via the Periscope app.

Be sure to follow all of my social media accounts as I will be covering the GABF as well as the many satellite events that take place in and around Denver during that week. In case you do not already follow all of them, here is a list:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/springfield.brewcrew

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SPRBrewCrew

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mwisdom562/

You can also follow the times of events by going to the Events page of my website; www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

Keep an eye open over the next few weeks as I will add my itinerary for the festival and other events along with schedules for live streaming video via Periscope broadcast on Twitter. But, also watch for pop-up interviews via Periscope as I make connections with the movers and shakers at the event.

Wednesday, September 23

2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.                    Visits to Jagged Mountain Brewery and Prost Brewing

6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.                  Offensively Delicious — Beer Tasting and Comedy Event

Thursday, September 24

1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.                    Goose Island Release — The Bourbon County Stout Process

3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.                    Deschutes-Harpoon Special Event — VIP Reception and Meet & Greet

5:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.                  The Great American Beer Festival, Session 1

Friday, September 25                   

8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.                    The Oskar Blues Ordeal – Tours and Tastings at Oskar Blues facilities throughout Colorado.

5:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.                  The Great American Beer Festival, Session 2

6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.                    PERISCOPE Interview with Blue Moon brewers Keith Villa and John Legnard

Saturday, September 26              

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.                The Great American Beer Festival Competition Awards

12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.                  The Great American Beer Festival, Session 3

3:00 p.m. to ???                            A trek to Idaho Springs to visit Tommyknocker Brewing

Again, as I nail down interviews and other events during the festival, I will update the schedule.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2015 in Beer

 

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Countdown to the Great American Beer Festival: Coverage Plan

gabf2015Three years ago when I attended the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) for the first time as a member of the press I wrote of the event in hallowed terms:

There was a definite buzz in the air 30 minutes before the doors opened for Session 1 of the 2012 Great American Beer Festival. In the lobby on the Colorado Convention Center eager beer enthusiasts were lined up awaiting the dropping of the ropes for entry into the main exposition hall. While inside the hall, breweries, volunteers, and press were busily preparing for the onslaught. In a word, it was magical.

This year, three years older, three years wiser, I intend to cover the event again using a variety of media. With the advance of technology, I want to provide coverage through my blog, but also in more advanced ways like live Tweeting/Facebooking, Periscope — a live video streaming service accessed through Twitter — and targeted video interviews and coverage.

To that end, be sure to follow all of my social media accounts as I will be covering the GABF as well as the many satellite events that take place in and around Denver during that week. In case you do not already follow all of them, here is a list:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/springfield.brewcrew

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SPRBrewCrew

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mwisdom562/

You can also follow the times of events by going to the Events page of my website; www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

Keep an eye open over the next few weeks as I will add my itinerary for the festival and other events along with schedules for live streaming video via Periscope broadcast on Twitter. But, also watch for pop-up interviews via Periscope as I make connections with the movers and shakers at the event.

As of now, my schedule as only a few items on it, but as GABF draws closer, more events will be added to the list. Keep in mind that all times are presented in Mountain Daylight Time for Eastern Daylight Time add two hours.

Thursday, September 24

3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.                    Deschutes-Harpoon Special Event

5:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.                  The Great American Beer Festival, Session 1

Friday, September 25                   

8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.                     The Oskar Blues Ordeal – Tours and Tastings at Oskar Blues facilities throughout Colorado.

5:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.                  The Great American Beer Festival, Session 2

Saturday, September 26              

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.                The Great American Beer Festival Competition Awards

12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.                  The Great American Beer Festival, Session 3

Again, as I nail down interviews and other events during the festival, I will update the schedule.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2015 in Beer

 

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Have a brew and get married at this year’s Great American Beer Festival

Wedding bells are ringing at the Great American Beer festival again this year thanks to Saint Arnold Brewing Company. For the second year in a row, the Texas brewery will host weddings, civil unions and vow renewals at their wedding chapel booth at GABF.

The press release below provides all the details:

DENVER, October 2, 2014 – Hundreds of couples are expected to walk down the aisle at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) this week – to exchange vows at the Saint Arnold Brewing Co. chapel on the exhibition floor. For the second year, Saint Arnold Brewing Co., the oldest craft brewery in Texas, has constructed a chapel and will offer an ordained minister dressed as St. Arnold to conduct weddings, civil unions and vow renewals.

Last year’s celebration at the premier U.S. beer festival featured an estimated 200 ceremonies per session – approximately 800 overall – as couples celebrated their love and mutual commitment to each other and to beer. This year Saint Arnold Brewing Company will give each celebrating couple a set of bottle opener rings for wedding bands.

“We were happily surprised last year by that our weddings became a memorable part of the GABF experience for so many craft beer lovers from across the country,” Saint Arnold Director of Marketing and Events, Lennie Ambrose. “With a selection of 2,800 craft beers available at our GABF weddings, this is the perfect marriage between vows and craft beer.”

The ordained minister playing the role of St. Arnold of Metz, the patron saint of brewers, will do the honors between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday in booth M17. Ambrose said the Saint Arnold team will be ready to help supply the toasts, whether it be, ‘May your heart always be full and your glass never empty,’ or “I like my friends, I love my wife, food is good, and beer is Life!”

“We expect this fun event will be even more popular than last year, as couples share their love and passion for each other and for craft beer with thousands of other enthusiasts,” Ambrose said.

For more information about getting married by Saint Arnold at GABF, visit http://www.saintarnold.com/gabfwedding/.

Saint Arnold also will be pouring many of its special and sought-after beers at the event, including:

  • Bourbon Barrel Pumpkinator
  • Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel No. 2 Brett
  • Saint Arnold Bishop’s Barrel No. 4
  • Saint Arnold Boiler Room Berliner Weisse
  • Saint Arnold Endeavour
  • Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower
  • Saint Arnold Oktoberfest
  • Saint Arnold Pumpkinator
  • Saint Arnold Weedwacker
  • Santo
 
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Posted by on October 3, 2014 in Beer Festival

 

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