The annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver is not only about sampling countless beers from U.S. breweries. It’s also the largest commercial beer competition in the world.
At this year’s GABF, which ran late September, 242 beer experts from 15 countries (including the U.S.) judged 6,647 different beers from 1,552 breweries, representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C. 145 different beer styles within 92 categories were entered into the competition. Certified GABF judges are all experienced judges, and they include brewers, beer journalists, BJCP judges and other industry professionals.
Over three days, judges blindly evaluated beers during five different three-hour sessions (8-12 beers per session). Each table of seven judges was assigned beers to evaluate, and brewers or employees of a brewery are never allowed to judge styles that they enter into the competition.