Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American craft beer ambassador for Europe, talks about why beer festivals are great, and looks forward to unmissable beer events in both the UK and USA.
Lotte Peplow at the Great American Beer Festival. Photographs: Brewers Association
Who doesn’t love a beer festival? Their enduring longevity is testament to their popularity, with many beer festivals around the world celebrating significant milestones this year.
The Great American Beer Festival (GABF), in Denver, Colorado, clocks up 40 years this October, the Great British Beer Festival started 45 years ago, and, among the newer events, London Craft Beer Festival (LCBF) celebrates its tenth running this year.
Beer festivals are a superb way to sample a vast range of much sought-after and heavily-hyped high-quality and innovative beers from international and domestic breweries, many of which are never normally available in-market.
At LCBF, Tobacco Dock, on August 12th and 13th, the Brewers Association will be representing 23 American craft breweries, showcasing 62 different beers. They will be joined by eight American craft brewers or brewery owners. Many of the beers on offer are rarely seen in the UK and range in style from the classic to the experimental. We look forward to welcoming you to our new and enhanced American craft beer stand.
The massive floor of the Great American Beer Festival
For those who can’t get to the festival, the Brewers Association is hosting a tap takeover and meet the brewers event at Craft Beer Co, Covent Garden, London, on Thursday 11th August, from 6pm. Eleven American craft breweries will be taking over 27 taps and eight brewers/brewery owners will be present to interact with beer lovers.
After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, I’m also looking forward to the GABF, from 6th-8th October. It’s billed as America’s p’remier beer festival and cultural phenomenon’ and is hosted by the Brewers Association. More than 500 American craft breweries will pour over 1,500 beers, and 40,000 people are expected to attend. There’s also a silent disco, live music, games, dressing up, and special 40th anniversary activities.
GABF also hosts what’s said to be the USA’s premier beer competition, showcasing more than 100 beer styles and featuring 9,000 beers. Beers are judged by a professional judge panel and are available for festival attendees to sample during the tasting.
But, in my opinion, what makes GABF different to other beer festivals is the inclusion of PAIRED, an unforgettable American craft beer and food pairing event that features 25 acclaimed chefs paired with 25 independent brewers. Together they curate an incredible tasting menu that tantalises the tastebuds and dazzles the senses of foodies and beer lovers alike. The uniquely designed small bites are thoughtfully paired with American craft beers found nowhere else on the festival floor. Tickets sell out fast!
PAIRED offers the opportunity to explore the natural flavour synergies between beer and food and demonstrates why beer is a perfect partner for almost any food. Beer is as much an ingredient of the dish as it is a liquid refreshment.The only difference is, it is in a glass not on the plate. Most beer festivals do not offer a pairing experience on this scale. Instead, hunger is satiated with the usual fast-food offerings.
On the festival floor itself, the beers are the stars of the show, and it’s easy to see why. American craft beer regularly sweeps the board at international beer competitions, winning gold medals around the world. American craft brewers are widely credited with igniting the global craft beer movement, and at the festival high quality ingredients, outstanding flavours, relentless innovation and brewing precision all combine to create beers you want to drink again and again and again (and a few you don’t — beer made with pig’s liver, anyone?).
At GABF, beer is served in one ounce pours, so in order to sample that special beer again you need to return to the back of the queue! The longest queues generally mean a much-hyped beer is available and the ‘buzz’ is palpable.
Unlike many festivals around the world, there is no international component to GABF. It’s an American beer festival for American brewers and its purpose is to showcase the innovation, skill, and brewing expertise of the country’s small and independent craft brewers.
The Brewers Association Export Development Programme is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture and assists American craft brewers with educating international audiences about the US craft beer industry, informing member craft breweries about opportunities in key international target markets, complementing the industry’s own efforts to increase distribution and increasing efforts to improve issues of poor shipping and handling of craft beer.
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.
The BA represents 5,700-plus US breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers.
The BA organises events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week.
The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine, and Brewers Publications is the largest publisher of brewing literature in the US.
Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app.