The Great American Beer Festival, or, The Importance of Pretzel Necklaces

 Great American Beer Festival 2009


So, we have this wee little festival to celebrate beer here in Denver, called the Great American Beer Festival. You may have heard of it? It’s the biggest beer festival in the entire United States. After two years of missing out, Mr. Kitchenette scored us some tickets to the festivities this year. I was mildly terrified of attending, because let’s face it, I tend to be more of a let’s-stay-home-and-watch-movies-and-go-to-bed-at-10-pm type of person. I mean, it was sure to be filled with crazy, drunk, frat boys with popped collars slobbering all over each other. Not my idea of a good time.

… I conceed. It. Was. Awesome.

I mean, yes – there were lots of crazy, drunk people – but they weren’t all frat boys. I didn’t realize until I got there that the promise of unlimited beer in a 4 hour period appeals to much more than just the average frat boy. The conference hall was filled with people, mashed shoulder-to-shoulder near the beer servers. Essentially, there are long rows of tables, behind which stand volunteers that will serve you a 1-ounce tasting of any beer you like. And  you get a sweet little plastic beer glass to keep. And everytime your beer consumption overtakes your motor skillz, and you drop your little plastic beer glass on the concrete floor, you’re met with a resounding “OHHHHHHHHH!” from the crowd around you. You know, just in case you weren’t embarrassed enough. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be too embarrassed, as the guy next to you will probably drop his little plastic beer glass in the next 5 minutes, therefore stealing the attention away from your clumsiness.


PBR Footie pajamas Great American Beer Festival

This drunk dude was wearing footie pajamas with the PBR logo all over



Great American Beer Festival Logo

If you love beer – nay, if you even like beer – you should definitely go to GABF at least once in your life. I’m not a huge beer drinker (although Mr. Kitchenette is – we have a pony keg of Heineken in our fridge right now) I thought this would be an extraordinary opportunity to taste a bunch of beers, and hopefully, find a few more that I could stomach.

So, while Mr. Kitchenette and his friend Piper tried all the “dude beers,” as I will henceforth refer to them, Jenny (my GABF partner-in-crime) and I conducted our own taste tests. I quickly realized that I couldn’t remember all of the great beers I was tasting, soooo… enter the Crackberry. I most definitely kept a list of all the beers we liked.

Behold, The Greatest Beers of GABF (Kitchenette-style):

As you can see, I definitely lean toward wheat beers and witbiers/weissbiers, as well as the crazy fruit-flavored girly beers. I can’t help it.

Speaking of the Crackberry, one dude actually saw me quickly write down which beer I liked and our conversation went like this:


Drunk Dude: Whatcha doin’?

Me: Just keeping a list of the beers that I like.

Drunk Dude: Dude, that’s so… anal retentive.


 Yes, but will he be able to remember all the delicious beers he tried? I don’t think so.

As I mentioned before, the GABF is a 4-hour shift in which you can try any of the 2100 beers, as many times as you like. There is food offered in the conference hall, but it’s overpriced and not very tasty. So most people have developed a system for having something on hand to eat during GABF, just so you don’t get too drizzunk during the 4 hours of debauchery. Enter the pretzel necklace.

I get it: pretzels and beer. Essentially you get some string (or ribbon, or whatever) and string a bunch of pretzels onto the string and tie it around your neck. Many people go with the traditional small pretzels for snacking, and a few I saw were working the sourdough necklace as well. Even more people string other foods onto their necklaces as well; I saw Fruit Loops and Cheerios, although pretzels tend to be the most traditional fashion choice. The best necklace I saw was the girl (see picture at beginning of post) wearing a necklace strung with pretzels and – I kid you not – string cheese, and tiny chocolate donuts. I had to take a picture to commemorate the Awesomeness.


Great American Beer Festival Greatest Necklace


An unexpected bonus of GABF: a lot of people go in groups, and make it into a big event. Just like when your family went to Disney World in 5th grade, here you get matching t-shirts as well. Only at GABF, your t-shirts are likely to reference either sex, alcoholism, or both. Case in point:


 Promise Keepers GABP

“My wife thinks I’m at Promise Keepers 


BAC Tshirt at Great American Beer Festival


And my personal favorite…


Small penises are less intimidating Great American Beer Festival

I know… I can’t believe he wore that either.


Thus concludes this year’s adventures at the Great American Beer Festival. I’m already designing my pretzel necklace for 2010.

What beers are in your fridge right now?



Playing in the Kitchenette:  The Avett Brothers / Die Die Die – I saw this on sale at Starbucks and I died a little inside. At least whoever works at Corporate Starbucks has good taste in music… *sigh*.



6 thoughts on “The Great American Beer Festival, or, The Importance of Pretzel Necklaces

  1. I so should have stayed a week or 3 extra so I could have been a part of this fabulous event. I say next year we make Tshirts and go. I would so love that. PS – I like girly beer too :)

  2. Wow. A Beer Festival. Definitely something the hubs would be on board with. Maybe at some point we can actually plan something to all do together and actually include the husbands.NAH! Let’s just all plan to do this next year!


    PS Can we please make pretzel necklaces for Nov?

    • We should definitely make pretzel necklaces! I might add popcorn to mine as well.

      Also Janet has decreed that next year her birthday celebration shall take place at GABF. We even came up with a theme for the t-shirts… YEASTY BITCHES 2010.

  3. Pingback: Drowning My Sorrows in Buffalo Chili « The Kitchenette

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