It’s only a week out from GABF 2012 and most of us are already saddened by the lack of diversity of craft beer in our local markets. Many of us can get our favorite regionally distributed beer at home, but that pails in comparison to a monster exhibition such as GABF. At such an event, it is impossible to try every beer, but many of us gravitate towards breweries that are “holy grails” not available at the places we call home. Now, we reminisce about all those fantastic beers we tasted that we cannot get at home. At this point, some of us already have intentions of visiting some of our favorite breweries throughout the year before GABF rolls around again.
This year, despite ticket sale fiascoes, was arguably the best year for GABF in history based on brewery turnout, attendees and beers poured. As the fest gains popularity, changes are continually made to the event to better accommodate the patrons. This year was no exception. One of the most notable changes was the brewpub area, in the heart of the floorspace . This was an area where featured brewpubs across the nation were treating patrons to the best food and drink they could concoct. This definitely seemed to be quite a success for the GABF, and it shows how much confidence the festival organizers had in the brewpub section by the layout even before the festival started.
Another change this year was the highly advertised Farm-to-table pavilion:
Although this was not the first year they have featured this event, this was the first time it was widely known about to the masses. The goal of this event was to pair farm-fresh ingredients prepared by renowned chefs with ideal beers from some of the best breweries in the industry. Needless to say, there were many imaginative pairings featured at the event. A link to the event pairings can be found here. Many of the attendees of this event have gone since its inception and they continue to rave about it.
The last notable change to the GABF this year was the venue in which the awards ceremony was held. Given the changes in the floor plan, the awards ceremony was held at the Wells Fargo Theater inside the convention center, instead of the typical location towards the back of the exhibition area. This allowed for a more open floor plan for the event organizers to help reduce some congestion during the event. As designers would say, there was much more “feng shui” across the board.
Many of us are already looking forward to what GABF 2013 has in store. Given the overt and subtle changes this year, the event was better than it has ever been. Following this trend, I’m sure next year will be even more memorable. As we know, the event organizers have a lot on their proverbial plates, but they continue to hit a home run every year. One thing is for certain, next year will be sure to impress.