The Great American Beer Festival is a three-day annual event hosted by the Brewers Association, held in Denver, Colorado, in mid to late September or early October. In 2012, the festival ran from October 11th to the 13th. The GABF brings visitors from around the world to sample more than 2,000 different American beers. Over 100 beer judges from the United States and abroad evaluate beer in the associated competition, ultimately judging 3,300 beers entered by almost 500 domestic breweries. Gold, silver and bronze medals in 83 beer-style categories are awarded, though not every medal is necessarily awarded in each category.
Started in 1982, the GABF was created by nuclear engineer Charlie Papazian in Boulder, Colorado. The original GABF had 22 participating breweries and the 2009 festival had 457. In 2009 the festival expanded into a hall one-third larger than the previous year. The GABF is considered the largest ticketed beer festival in the United States.