When the Great American Beer Festival throws open its doors Thursday night at 5:30 p.m., tens of thousands of drink connoisseurs will rush into the Colorado Convention Center in Denver — but many thousands more will remain in brewery taprooms and beer bars downtown.

Where the country’s largest annual gathering of brewers used to serve as a siren call for every beer maker or aficionado to come into its hallowed halls, it now is just one of many large regional and statewide events where drinkers can get their fill from more than 100 breweries.

So, even as the Brewers Association, the Boulder-based industry group that organizes the celebration, sold out 60,000 tickets in less than five hours, questions emerged in this world of thousands of beer festivals and 5,600 brewery taprooms exactly what place the GABF still holds for the brewing world.

For each of the 161 Colorado breweries that will pour beer at the four public tasting sessions running from this afternoon through Saturday night, there is another brewery and then some that have chosen not to spend their time and money to travel to the convention center.

Read more at the Denver Business Journal: http://bit.ly/2xWXQrm