Beer Calendar: Fresh Hops, Odell's 25th Birthday and the Run-Up to GABF

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The Great American Beer Festival lands on Denver October 2-4, along with myriad other craft beer events around town. How to get back and forth? Uber, the car-ride service has launched a promotion called the Battle of the Breweries.

More than twenty beer makers in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins (where Uber has services) will battle it out to see who can get the most Uber signups. To participate, people can go to Uber's website and click on the logo of their favorite brewery to sign up -- and get $25 bucks of their first ride (new users only).

Turn the page to see all of this week's events, which include some leading up to GABF. Or go to our full Great American Beer Festival 2014 calendar.


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The Great American Beer Festival Week 2014 Calendar of Events

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The Great American Beer Festival will welcome nearly 50,000 people to the Colorado Convention Center October 2 through October 4, along with an astounding 3,500 beers from 726 breweries, making it the biggest and best sudstravaganza in the world. Tickets sold out months ago (although you can find them online if you're willing to spend some extra dough), but that doesn't mean you can't get your craft-beer vibe on in Denver and its environs. Starting on Saturday, September 27 and continuing for ten days, breweries, bars, restaurants and other venues up and down the Front Range will host beer dinners, concerts, parties, special tappings, bar crawls, meet-and-greets, smaller festivals and classes that should thrill every beer lover -- from near and far.

Here is our guide to GABF-related events, a list that we will be updating on a weekly -- and probably daily -- basis as new activities are planned and introduced. Cheers!

See also: Nearly 1,400 breweries register for GABF, 81 percent higher than last year

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GABF Rule Changes Force Coors to Take a Much Smaller Part in the 2014 Festival

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Blue Moon Facebook page
Blue Moon's Keith Villa pours beer at GABF in 2012.
Coors has been a part of the Great American Beer Festival since its ragtag beginnings in 1982 in Boulder. The brewery won its first medals -- for Killian Irish Red and Coors Extra Gold -- in 1988, a year after the festival held its first competitive judging. In the decades since, the Golden brewery has merged with Molson and then Miller, but Coors, and its various subsidiaries, continued to win GABF medals by the fistful. The Sandlot -- located inside Coors Field -- has taken home 43 by itself, while Blue Moon and AC Golden, which are both based in Colorado, have won seventeen between them.

In recent years, MillerCoors has been represented by as many as eight different companies that poured dozens of beers on the festival floor, from the big-name brands like Coors, Keystone and Miller to niche creations made by tiny subsidiaries.

See also: Nearly 1,400 Breweries Register for GABF, 81 Percent Higher Than Last Year

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Nearly 1,400 breweries register for GABF, 81 percent higher than last year

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A whopping 1,360 breweries from all fifty states and the District of Columbia will enter beers into the competition at the Great American Beer Festival this October. That's about 81 percent higher than last year, when 750 breweries tried to register for the fest, according to preliminary numbers provided by the Brewers Association.

But because of GABF's new registration process -- which guaranteed admittance to every brewery that wanted to enter this year -- each brewery will only be able to submit four beers for judging, significantly less than in previous years. The number could rise to five, but that has yet to be determined, says BA spokeswoman Barbara Fusco.

See also: GABF hopes to avoid ugly brewery-registration problems next week with new process

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GABF hopes to avoid ugly brewery-registration problems next week with new process

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Craft breweries across the country will begin registering for the Great American Beer Festival next Tuesday, but the Brewers Association has completely changed how the process works in order to avoid the ugly situation that developed in 2013.

So many breweries tried to enter last year that all of the spots filled within two hours, a rapid sellout that stunned both the breweries and the Boulder-based BA and which left 375 beer makers -- both longtime companies and rising stars alike -- on a waiting list.

See also: GABF will get much more space at the Colorado Convention Center in 2015

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Wynkoop's Beerdrinker of the Year goes on hiatus after 17 years; may resume during GABF

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2013 winner Warren Monteiro celebrates with the judges.
In a state where new craft breweries and new beers debut every week and beer festivals and events run nearly every weekend, it's hard to notice when one goes missing. But that's what happened last February, when Wynkoop Brewing decided not to host its Beerdrinker of the Year competition, which had taken place annually for seventeen years.

Although the brewery plans to bring the event back this fall, it will probably be in a new format and without some of the trappings that had made it an institution.

See also: Beerdrinker of the Year contest features a Wynkoop alumna, now in New York

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GABF award-winning Sandlot brewery will stay open all winter at Coors Field

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The Colorado Rockies' season came to a merciful end at the end of September, but the Sandlot brewery inside Coors Field plans to stay open to the public through the winter for the first time in more than a decade -- something that will allow it to showcase its recent designation as Large Brewing Company of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival.

And to kick things off, the Sandlot -- officially called the Blue Moon Brewing Company at the Sandlot -- will host a party on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., offering $4 flights of its three 2013 GABF medal winners, along with an award-winning beer from Blue Moon. (Both the Sandlot and Blue Moon are owned by a subsidiary of MillerCoors.)

See also: Blue Moon Brewing at the Sandlot gets a facelift as the baseball season opens

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Great American Beer Fest: Fun facts about Colorado's 46 medals in 2013

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Prost Brewing Facebook page
Prost brewer Ashleigh Carter tests her medal.
Colorado returned to form at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival, taking home a whopping 46 medals -- spread out across breweries of widely varying ages, sizes and locations. The medal count was also up significantly from 2012 -- when the state won only 35 medals as part of a four-year slide -- and capped by large awards for the Sandlot and Rock Bottom. The total number was so nice, in fact, that we thought we'd run down some interesting facts about the winning breweries.

See also: GABF will get much more space at the Colorado Convention Center in 2015

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Photos: Fuh-can Beer and Guitars was a blast, but where were all the people?

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All photos by Nate Hemmert
Oskar Blues's Fuh-can Beer and Guitars event was vacant compared to the beer halls at the Great American Beer Festival.
There may have been a few too many beer events this past weekend as part of the Great American Beer Festival. And Oskar Blues may have suffered from the excess, given that its two-day concert, Fuh-can Beer and Guitars, benefiting the Love, Hope, Strength Foundation and victims of the recent Colorado floods, was fuh-can empty -- a sad break for the charities involved. Nonetheless, we were everywhere this weekend, including here, and brought back photos of the event.

See Also: 2013 Great American Beer Fest: The final night

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Photos: GABF ping-pong tournament takes over Ace

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Philip Poston
With around 2,700 beers to taste, Great American Beer Fest attendees have to burn off the calories somehow. One great, alcohol-friendly way to do it: play some table tennis. On Wednesday night, representatives of 32 breweries gathered at Ace for a Left Hand tap takeover and ping-pong tournament. If the pictures below inspire you to pick up a paddle, Ace is holding a Brewers vs. Consumers tourney for GABF's final day on October 12.

See also: The ultimate calendar to the Great American Beer Festival 2013

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