October 3, 2014

Taking a trip to beer campStudents in Colorado culinary schools may want to take a moment to turn their attention to Denver, where the Great American Beer Festival will be taking place until the end of Saturday Oct, 4, 2014. The festival, which Denver Westword reports will play host to almost 50,000 beer enthusiasts from all over the world, will feature 726 different breweries boasting an unbelievable 3,500 different varieties of beer. Certainly one of the largest weeks for the beer community, the festival takes place annually with a focus on education, brand awareness and, above all, phenomenal beer.

An educational component
Of course, there’s far more to enjoying a great beer than simply drinking one (or two or three…). In fact, it seems that more and more people in the western states and around the country have chosen to educate themselves about the origins, design and production of one of our nation’s favorite beverages. The festival has responded accordingly, designating special programs and areas of the convention specifically tailored toward providing a more widely accessible educational presence. According to The Denver Post, this year’s celebration will feature over 100 “beer geeks,” individuals who are highly knowledgeable in the world of beer will roam the festival answering questions and imparting knowledge upon the masses. The festival will also hold six booths spread about the grounds dedicated to educating patrons on topics such as sustainable beer production.

Barbara Fusco, who handles sales and marketing for the festival, summated the higher call for education to The Post. She compared it to the heightened stratification in food choices recent generations have experienced.

“You used to just order a hamburger. Now you are ordering a bison burger that was grass fed and it comes with house pickled onions and handcrafted aioli,” said Fusco. “People want to know what’s in their food, what’s in their drink.”

Keeping options open
While Fusco may be right about certain individuals being motivated to know what’s in their food, there’s no denying that all beer enthusiasts are motivated by choice. In that regard, the festival is a grand slam. The more than 700 breweries in attendance include established favorites such as New Holland, Terrapin, Ska Brewing and Dogfish Head as well as smaller, less well-known taps like Brasserie St. James or 21st Amendment. In a testament to the increasing demand for access to heightened choice in libations, tickets to the festival sold out quickly, though they can still be purchased by resellers online.