GABF is one of the premier beer festivals in the country and represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served. The event showcases craft brewing - which is one of the fastest-growing segments of the beer, wine and spirits industry.
There will be more than 36,500 gallons of beer with 49,000 attendees including judges, brewers and volunteers. Tickets to the festival sold out in 45 minutes.
The annual festival has public tastings as well as private competitions, where breweries can enter their beers to be tasted by the festival's professional judging panel. GABF attendees can sample the beer entered in the competitions during the tasting sessions.
The beer-education area inside includes cooking with craft beer, a "you be the judge" booth and stories behind the breweries.
New additions to the Brewpub Pavilion include 24 brewers representing all regions of the country. Brewpubs make up about half of American breweries.
Increasing the annual competition for the best beer, this year's festival will add 110 breweries - a 23 percent increase over 2011. The competition added a new category - Fresh Hop Ale.
According to the festival's website, last year's Beer Fest was the most successful zero-waste program in GABF history, where 79 percent of materials were recycled or composted - exceeding their goal of 70 percent.
In a tough economy, the beer festival could come as great help. The event has a $7 million economic impact according to the visitors' bureau.
The Great American Beer Festival was founded in 1982 and is listed as one of the top 1,000 places in the U.S. to visit before you die. For more information about the event, visit www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com.
Sonia Gutierrez and Alexis Bridenbraugh contributed to this report.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)