Beer festivals draw an eclectic mix of individuals. For a few fantastic hours, we forget our differences. People of different backgrounds, beliefs, and upbringings come together to celebrate a common interest – beer! No other alcoholic beverage brings people together like the “snap, sssss” sound when you crack a can of your favorite brew. A special camaraderie is created by slamming steins together and yelling, “PROST!”
Like football, horse racing, or the Fourth of July, beer is a true American pastime. It’s no wonder the Great American Beer Festival is such a wildly popular event. Over the span of three days, sud sippers find their hoppy place at GABF. The festival was started a whopping 36 years ago by Charlie Papazian. Since the event’s humble founding in 1982, the attendance by brewers and beer drinkers has exponentially skyrocketed. The craft beer movement has helped draw attention to the event and today over 3,800 beers are poured; a mind-boggling number compared to the original 47 beers that made an appearance at the inaugural GABF!
With only 4.5 hours to visit 800+ American breweries crammed into the Denver Convention Center, the session can quickly become a blur after a few high ABV brewskies (cough, cough, Tweak!). Realistically, a beer drinker will not try every booth and every beer, but one can try! This is where a beautiful thing called a pretzel necklace comes in handy.
This year was my first at the Great American Beer Festival. To be honest I was completely terrified at the thought of drinking as much as we could, as fast as possible. The days leading up to opening night consisted of a few “GABF Pro Tips” Google searches and mapping out a survival plan.
Perhaps it’s the carbs or maybe it’s the sodium that brings us back to life. Either way, adding a pretzel necklace to my GABF first aid kit was the golden ticket to a successful, memorable evening.
I was not alone in my pretzeling. Hundreds of fellow sud sippers brandished their own spin on a pretzel necklace. Here are my 10 favorites from this year’s GABF:
2. The Everything ButIf you’re non-committal and looking for a bit of sweet, savory and salty, this pantry-on-a-necklace is the way to go!
3. Chickity-Check(er) Yoself Before You Wreck Yoself
Cos some say beer is bad for your health…
4. The Portion Control & Leave Room For Dessert
Fun size snack packs are a surefire way to safeguard your pretzels so they last the whole festival. This guy even plans on having a chocolate-covered pretzel dessert too! Guess those chocolate milk stouts weren’t enough of a sweet treat for him!
5. Papa Pretzel & Princess Pretzel
For the fans of keepin’ it homegrown. Each soft pretzel on their necklace was handcrafted with love and father/daughter teamwork. Beer-festin’ is what I call quality bonding time!
7. The Carbo-Load
8. The Costco Value Pack
9. The Gas Station
10. The Go Big or Go Home
“Anything you can do I can do better; I can do anything better than you.”