Great American Beer Festival tickets went on sale today (here), and although they are $5 more this year, $60 is still worth the price of admission. After all, there will be 450 breweries serving 2,200 different beers at the fest, which runs September 29 through October 1. What else is new at the thirtieth annual incarnation of GABF? We'll be pouring out that information over the next three months. In the meantime, here are a few ticklers to wet your whistle.
1) Ticket prices went from $55 to $60, but hey, we're talking about the biggest, most well-known beer festival in the world here.
2) There are four new categories: Fruit Wheat Beer, Chocolate Beer, American-Style Brett Ale and International-Style Pale Ale, described as different from American and English pales because they "have a wide range of hop characters, good balance and moderate alcohol, making them great session beers."
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3) The Boulder-based Brewers Association, which runs GABF is pressuring brewers to try to have a staffer on hand at the booths throughout the festival. "It's strongly recommended," says festival director Nancy Johnson. "The problem is that if we made it a requirement, we would also have to police it," which is difficult with 450 breweries. "We are trying to move in that direction, though. I would encourage every brewery to make plans to be at their booth. I'm sure that would be seconded by every attendee at the GABF."
4) The Saturday afternoon "members-only" session - one of the toughest tickets in town - will run from noon to 4 p.m. this year rather than 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
5) There will be a retrospective display that highlights the first-ever GABF, which was held at Boulder's Harvest House Hotel in 1982. Four of the brewers from that festival will be at this one as well: Anchor Brewing, F.X. Matt/Sarnac; Boulder Beer; and Sierra Nevada.