As July reaches its mid-point, Colorado beer-festival season is at its height. But that also means we are a little closer to the true pinnacle of Colorado craft-beer culture: the week surrounding the Great American Festival, which runs from September 24 through September 26 this year. Tickets to the three-day event — the largest consumer beer fest in the world — go on sale soon, but so do tickets to some of the other marquee events that take place in and around Denver at the same time. And some are already on sale. Here's a run-down.
The Great American Beer Festival
Thursday, September 24, 5:30 p.m.
Friday, September 25, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 26, noon and 5:30 p.m.
Colorado Convention Center
Tickets: On sale at 10 a.m. July 29 to the general public; July 28 to members of the Brewers Association or AHA
$80 for general admission; $145 for Paired/Farm-to-Table event on Thursday and Friday. Ticketmaster.com
This is the big daddy, featuring thousands of beers from more than 800 breweries — and with an additional 90,000 square feet of space this time around. But if history over the past few years is any indication, tickets will be gone in a matter of seconds. Maybe that will change this year, since there will be 60,000 tickets available, up from 49,000 in previous years. But probably not. There is a limit of four tickets per session per ticket buyer for the general sessions, and two for the members-only session. If you miss out, there's always Stubhub, or scalping. The prices on the after-market will likely be high. Then again, this is GABF.
What the Funk!? Invitational
Wednesday, September 23, 6:15 to 10 p.m.
Highlands Masonic Event Center
Tickets: On sale Monday, July 20 at wtfinvitational.com
$90 for general admission; $115 for VIP (which gets you in at 5:30 p.m.)
Now in its fourth year, WTF was started in 2012 by Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project owner Chad Yakobson. The exclusive event features some of the rarest and most exceptional sour, wild and barrel-aged beers from sixty breweries all over the country (and even a few from overseas) — some of which don't even participate in GABF. There will be small bites to pair with the beer from Harman’s Eat & Drink. There are only 1,000 tickets available, and the fest will likely sell out immediately. The Twitter and Instagram handle for WTF is @WTFInvitational, and the hashtag is #WTF2015.
Beer Made By Walking
Wednesday, September 23, 4:30 to 8 p.m.
Our Mutual Friend Brewing
Tickets: On sale now
$30 at beersmadebywalking.com
The Beers Made By Walking program, which was founded in Colorado Springs, invites brewers to create place-based beers inspired by plants found on nature trails. This year's fest will be held outdoors at Our Mutual Friend Brewing, and the program will include more than twenty Colorado breweries and numerous breweries beyond Colorado. Almost every one has created a beer inspired by native plants identified along trails across the country, while others will bring specialty place-based beers that they already produce.
Denver Rare Beer Tasting VII, Pints for Prostates
Friday, September 25, 1 p.m.
Tickets: VIP is sold out, but a few GA tickets remain
$110 at etix.com
The seventh edition of the Denver Rare Beer Tasting gives attendees a chance to "rub elbows with fifty of America's leading craft brewers while enjoying rare, exotic and vintage beers." This event is pricey, but usually features some of the rarest beers in the land.
Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan