In an annual tradition, the Beer Buzz once again sent an entourage to The Great American Beer Festival, where breweries from all over the  country load up their finest and head to sunny Colorado for a weekend-long beer festival that features hundreds of breweries, thousands of beers and a TON of beer loving fans. The Beer Buzz team went out to experience the fest and here's their take on everything!  

Binny's GABF Coors Brewing


What was your favorite part of GABF?

"The size of the convention center and the amount of people in attendance was astonishing and truly a sight to be seen." - Brant H, Binny's St. Charles "Trying really strange beers. You name it, people are adding it to beer. Pine needles, hickory nuts, chili peppers, maple syrup, coconut, lobsters (yep, whole lobsters), limes, tomatoes, peanut butter, etc. Some of these unconventional beers were great and some were, well, not so great. These type of brews are often high risk/high reward, and trying a small sample rather than investing in a whole six pack or bomber bottle was great." - Roger A, Binny's Willowbrook "It was amazing to see that many breweries in one place. I have never been to a beer fest that size before. It was almost overwhelming how big the event was. They did a good job of keeping the lines from getting too bad and the people moving around." - Chris A, Binny's Lincoln Park Trying some great breweries from the Pacific Northwest that don’t see wide distribution — Chuckanut (perennial medalists for lager styles) and Barley Brown’s (makers of the delicious Pallet Jack IPA) in particular." - Tom B, Binny's Skokie "Trying beers from famous breweries we don't have access to such as Lawson's Famous Liquids, Funky Buddha, Funkwerks, Fat Heads, Wicked Weed, Short's, and Cigar City." - Kyle F, Binny's Beer Buyer "The best part about GABF was being around so many people that are as passionate about beer. The selection of beer was unreal. I couldn't believe how many breweries there were and the assortment of styles to try. The experience was the best part!" - Jason K, Binny's Evergreen Park

Binny's GABF Breckenridge


Based on your experience, what do you hope is the next big trend in beer?

"There were a lot of breweries brewing with hot pepper beers, making a tasty and balanced product." - Anthony G., Binny's Oak Brook "Sours, barrel aged beers and IPAs are already trending and were very well represented at GABF. I wouldn't mind seeing more 'Gin and Tonic' beers or a returned focus on more traditional American lagers and pilsners." - Jimmy W., Binny's Oak Brook "I am hoping as evident from GABF there will be an increase in smaller-scale, localized brewing and less focus on national distribution and market domination." - Brant H.   "More flavorful, lower ABV beers and more sours. I saw a lot of pilsners, session ales, and kolsch style beers. Sours are no longer just for sour-specific breweries, they're everywhere, and they're here to stay." - Pat B. "Session beers that don’t have to announce that they are a session beer. I didn’t come across as many Session IPAs as I thought I would. People definitely want quality beers that aren’t over the top ABV, so hopefully they will learn to embrace classic lower/moderate alcohol styles. A pale ale might not sound glamorous, but a well-balanced pale is a beautiful thing." - Roger A. "A lot of breweries are using coconut in their beer. It really does work wonderfully in stouts and porters." - Chris A. "Continuing the session beer trend without going the obvious IPA route. American brewers are making excellent bitters, pilsners, and berliner weisse style beers." - Tom B. "Session sours." - Kyle F. "I love IPA style beers, now I also love barrel aged beers along with sours. With the amount of both barrel aged and sour beers that were available, I believe the trend might be focused in that direction." - Chris C. "I think that we will continue to see different styles of infused beer, but with different styles that we don't see normally. Instead of typical; sours and stouts, and IPAs. I think we will see more experimentations on different styles being barrel aged. Also, different styles being infused: honey, fruit, spices - to capture people's excitement and keep them eager to try something different. I think that we will also see more brewerie collaborations." - Jason K.  

Which brewery/beer surprised you the most?

"The progressive influence that Destihl is having to the Chicago beer scene was on full display to the entire world last weekend as they proudly poured expertly honed sours to the thirsty masses that kept their booth constantly pestered. And Sierra Nevada/Bell's Beer Camp Barrel Aged Maillard's Odyssey was awesome!" - Brant H. "Fremont. I love their beers and their barrel aged Coffee Cinnamon Abominable was maybe the best thing I tried." - Pat B. "Avery. Avery produces amazing beer all across the spectrum of styles from light and sessionable ales to massive 18% abv barrel aged brews. Their sour beer III Dolia was one of the best beers I tried all weekend. By blending beers aged in rare wine barrels from Madeira and Carcavelos Avery produced a beer of nearly unrivaled complexity that was truly remarkable. While we most likely won’t see any of this release in Illinois, Avery has expanded their sour and barrel age program and we should see more of their incredible sours in the future." - Roger A. "Ballast Point Red Velvet Cake was amazing. It was like drinking cake in a glass." - Chris A. "I happened upon Woodfour Brewing (Sebastopol, CA) and was really struck by the quality of the sour program from such a young brewery. They also had a cool Schwarzbier with barrel-aged coffee called Morning Selfie." - Tom B. "No Crusts from Funky Buddha. A peanut butter and jelly beer." - Kyle F. "I found myself enjoying all the beers that I sampled from Avery. I also enjoyed Oscar Blues Pinner Session IPA." - Chris C. "I was impressed with Short's from Elk Rapids, MI. They create a lot of unusual beer that drew a big crowd. Whether it was from the Bloody Beer, Key Lime Pie, to the Pistachio Cream Ale. They brew a lot of different styles of beer, and had a crowd of people interested and eager to try them." - Jason K.  

Binny's Avery Brewing GABF


Any everyday beer that you discovered or rediscovered?

"Seasonally available, I revisited Fort Collins Oktoberfest after they received the Gold on Saturday and I was quickly reminded how solid and underrated that beer and style are in general." - Brant H. "Avery Lilikoi Kepolo. So much flavor, sessionable ABV, fruity and tart, the complete package." -Kyle F. "In the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild area, Spiteful Brewing had God Damn Pigeon Porter cans they were sampling. A nice blend of malt and roast with a nice hop finish to it. With the weather turning cooler it will be a staple in my fridge." - Chris A. "Firestone Double Barrel Ale. There’s a reason it just won its third gold medal at this year’s GABF." - Tom B. "After touring the Coors brewery and sampling Coors Banquet I had forgotten how easy drinking and good it was." - Chris C.  

What was the most ridiculous piece of food people wore around their necks?

"I saw one guy with an entire Chipotle burrito, eating it like a horse's feedbag. I also saw a guy with a little tub of Nutella with dipping crackers, a can of easy cheese, a bag of pretzels, a box of animal crackers, a bag of Cheetos, and an ENTIRE McDonald's cheeseburger all on one necklace. He also had a LA Angels Rally Monkey on it." - Pat B. "Twinkies, beef sticks, cheese sticks and cookies." - Chris A. "One guy had a Slim Jim bandolier." - Tom B. "A sausage the size of a baseball bat." - Kyle F. "Cheese Danishes, Slim Jims and Starburst candy." - Chris C.