The Brew Site

GABF 2011

Today marks the first day of the Great American Beer Festival, the country’s (if not the world’s?) largest kegger beer enthusiast event and competition taking place in Denver, Colorado. This is one of the best-known of beer events (one which I will someday attend) and while there’s been plenty of ink spilled over the years writing about it, a Twitter comment by Lew Bryson yesterday made me think of GABF in a different way: judging the beers:

83 categories of beers, almost 4,000 beers to judge. I’ve got APA, Imp stout, Session Beer!, schwarzbier, and all 3 rds of robust porter.

Almost 4000 beers to judge? That was a number that suddenly seemed to bring home just how daunting a task judging a huge event like GABF must be. And sure enough, from the facts and figures page, we have these numbers: 3900 beers entered for the competition, across 83 categories, representing 522 breweries, and there are 169 judges.

With 169 judges, that actually equates out to just over 23 beers per judge—by itself not an extraordinarily big task to accomplish over several days. But still, getting through 3900 beers in only three days seems more than a bit Herculean. Honestly that makes going to the GABF as a judge seem like work.