It’s back and bigger than ever.

Each year, for the past 37 years, people and beer from across the country make their way to Denver for three days of sudsy exploration. And we suggest you begin preparing now, as this year’s festival is expanding to more than 4,000 beers from more than 800 breweries across the nation — a true beer-lympic event.

This year The Great American Beer Festival will take place on Thursday, September 20 through Saturday, September 22 at the Colorado Convention Center. GABF represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served in the form of a public tasting, and this year, it’s the biggest yet. This year’s festival will be an additional 100,000 square feet larger than years past, bringing the total coverage to 584,000 square feet. Included in that added space will be a bigger Meet the Brewer Section (it’s growing by 40 percent), 12,600 square foot Jameson Caskmates Barrel-Aged Beer Garden and 3,600-square-foot Buffalo Wild Wings Sports Bar. And while that expanse of this festival is daunting, the breweries are arranged in alphabetic order — making it simple and easy for attendants to find their way around.

 READ: Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make While at GABF

GABF is essentially one giant beer competition. And each year it features an array of smaller competitions within the event as a whole. This year, it’s featuring a new competition where judges will evaluate 48 collaboration beers in best of show format.

The greater beer lineup will feature more than 4,000 beers from more than 800 breweries, offering breweries an opportunity to win a gold, silver or bronze medal in 102 beer style categories. In addition, guests will have the unique opportunity to meet the unique men and women behind some of their favorite brews.

With a bigger space than ever and thousands of beers to taste this year’s Great Amercian Beer Festival is slated to be a can’t-miss event. For more information on the history of the festival go here. Tickets go on sale August 1 at 10 a.m., here. GABF will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, September 20, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, September 21 and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 22 with a special session for Brewers Association and American Homebrewers Association members Saturday, from 12 – 4 p.m.

All photos by Kyle Cooper.

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