Last year’s event sold out in just four hours, so be prepared.
Credit: Photo © Brewers Association

The 2018 Great American Beer Festival –America’s premier beer event held annually in Denver, Colorado—maybe be over four months away, but ticket details were just announced, and if you plan on going, you’ll not only want to mark your calendar for the on-sale date, but you may also want to have a plan of attack as tickets to last year’s event sold out in about four hours (and sold out in just over an hour the year before that!)

The 37th annual Great American Beer Festival, often shortened to just GABF, will be held this year from Thursday, September 20 to Saturday, September 22 at Denver’s Colorado Convention Center located at 700 14th Street.

The event is broken down into four sessions—three evening sessions with one being held each night from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and one members-only session held during the day on Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tickets aren’t cheap—the public tickets are $85 a pop, and the member tickets are $75—but keep in mind that your entry includes “unlimited one-ounce samples of more than 3,800 beers” as well as a “commemorative tasting cup.” One thing is for certain: It’s highly unlikely you’ll feel like you were shortchanged on beer.

Also available on Thursday and Friday night are tickets to the Paired Pavilion. As the name suggests, these sessions which last from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. offer a unique food and beer pairing. “Each brewery brings two special/rare beers not offered in the festival hall,” the GABF explains. “Each chef creates two small bite dishes to pair with those beers. Paired features 21 chefs matched with 21 craft brewers, offering 42 unique pairings of beers and bites.” The cost for entry is $195.

How do you purchase GABF ticket? Tickets go on sale in two waves. The first presale is only open to Brewers Association (BA) and American Homebrewers Association (AHA) members and starts July 31 at 12 p.m. ET via AXS tickets. Only two tickets are available per member number. To take advantage of the presale and be eligible for the members-only session, you must purchase a membership by July 20, 11:59 p.m.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on August 1, also at 12 p.m. ET and also via AXS tickets. Only four tickets are available per session per buyer, though as that implies, you are allowed to attend multiple sessions. Protip: If you are traveling a long way for the festival, you might as well attend multiple sessions. As you may have guessed, it’s highly unlikely you’ll have tried all 3,800 beers in just one session.

Last year, a record 800-plus breweries attended the event, and unlike some beer events where breweries will simply send a representative (if they send anyone at all), GABF tends to be just as much of a social gathering as it is a beer tasting and judging event. If you’re a beer lover who has never been to GABF, it’s definitely something that should be on your beer bucket list. Needless to say, securing your ticket is step number one.