If you scored tickets to Great American Beer Festival, congrats. The esteemed festival for beer lovers sold out in just over an hour and you must feel like Willie Wonka clutching your golden ticket to the festival. But, if you didn't nab tickets in time, still throw on that pretzel necklace and get yourself to Denver because this craft-beer loving city will still be hopping with hops-inspired events.
The annual Denver Beer Fest, which is presented by Visit Denver, starts Sept. 27 and is a nine-day celebration of Denver's craft beer scene. In addition to the Great American Beer Festival, there are 200-some events like festivals, pop-ups, dinner pairings and more. The week culminates with the 37th annual Great American Beer Festival that will bring 60,000 beer lovers to the convention center.
In celebration of Denver's beer scene, here are five things locals know about the beer scene and that you should know, too.
The Best Burritos Are Sold out of Carts
When it comes to late-night eats, you'll want something to put in that beer-filled belly. Denver serves up some spectacular Mexican food. But when the festival lets out, you might be surprised as to where you'll find the best eats. Before the food truck trend was all the rage, vendors in Denver were selling burritos from carts. Trust us on this one: They're delicious. But perhaps the most popular burrito joint is The Original Chubby's, 1231 W 38th Ave, Denver, CO, where you'll find some of Denver's best green chili.
Before you rent a car, think twice. The RTD system is a great way to get from the airport to the downtown area. Once downtown, you can hop on B-Cycle bikes and zip around the downtown area with ease. (Plus, parking goes up in the private lots around the Convention Center come beer fest). But be careful, don't drink-and-bike because, yes, you get a DUI even if you're on two wheels.
Get the party started with 'Beer Flights at Denver International Airport'
Let your beer-infused weekend take off at the airport. For the third year in a row, Denver International Airport is opening up its "Beer Flights" beer garden to coincide with Great American Beer Festival. The beer garden will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Sept. 30 to Oct. 10 on Level 5 between the Jeppesen Terminal and Westin Denver International Airport. Tickets are available at the door for $10 and include a souvenir glass to taste 10, 2-ounce samples of beer from some of Colorado's best breweries. Breweries that will be present are Avery Brewery, Boulder Beer, Epic Brewing, Oskar Blues, Odell's, Elevation Beer Co., Tommyknocker Brewery, SKA Brewing, Telluride Brewing, and Renegade Brewery.
Explore the Beer Trail
There are more than 60 breweries in Denver, more than 100 in the metro-area, and more than 350 throughout the state. In a word, the craft beer scene is robust. The visitor's bureau makes it a little easier to get a taste of Denver's expansive beer scene with a Beer Trail map that features over 30 of the area's best breweries. On the trail, for example, is Baere Brewing Company, made with reclaimed boxcar wood floors, and Strange Beer Company, with yard games and food trucks.
Enjoy a Beer-Paired Dinner Menu
With brewers and beer lovers converging in Denver, restaurants are hosting dinners with brewmasters and rolling out beer-pairing menus. Among the highlights: Mercantile Dining & Provision, tucked in Denver's Union Station, will be hosting The Brewer's Table on Oct. 5 for a brewery,-chef paired dinner. Euclid Hall will celebrate the festival on Oct. 5 by hosting brewers from Telluride Brewing Company and Elevation Beer Company. The restaurant will feature a five-course meal paired with beers from the breweries. Over on Larimer Street, Osteria Marco and Great Divide Brewery are teaming for a Hooves and Hops dinner on Oct. 6 that will include a five-course meal that's perfectly paired with the brewery's beers. During Great American Beer Festival, The Nickel inside Hotel Teatro will transform into the Nickel Diner where you can find some elevated beer food classics. We're talking chicken and waffles with Tabasco honey and house-made pretzels.