The Great American Beer Festival is the beer festival of beer festivals. With close to 1,000 breweries in attendance, each pouring at least a couple beers, it’s impossible to taste all the glorious suds. Still, we tried. Or, at least we tried to track down the most unique, sought after, and well-reviewed beers to give you an idea of just how epic this festival is. We survived, thanks, in part, to greasy food and hydration levels a marathon runner would be envious of, and have returned to share with you our ranking of every beer we drank. Here you go. The list below goes from least favorite to most loved. We’ll see you next year in Denver.
59. NoDa NoDajito (Link)
58. Odd Side Ales POG (Link)
57. Bull & Bush Man Beer (Link)
56. Prison City Guavatanamo Bay (Link)
55. Perrin Brewing Tangerine Dream (Link)
54. Fate Coffee IPA (Link)
Fate had one of the longer lines at this year’s GABF, and while I didn’t dislike the beers I tried, I felt the talk over their Coffee IPA was a bit over-the-top.
53. Abnormal New Money Batch 6 (Link)
52. Cellarmaker Turok (Link)
51. Farnam House Biere De Garde (Link)
50. Jessup Farm Cross Drinker (Link)
49. Highland Park Genius (Link)
48. Dark Horse Violet’s Blueberry Maple Plead the Fifth (Link)
47. Base Camp S’mores Stout (Link)
Base Camp lured me in by roasting marshmallows with a blowtorch and dropping them in their S’mores Stout. The marshmallow was great, but the beer was just okay.
46. Short’s Carrot Cake (Link)
45. Scratch Brewing Seeds (Link)
44. Commonwealth Big Papi (Link)
43. Georgetown Bodhizafa (Link)
42. Bottle Logic Cobaltic Porter (Link)
41. Scratch Brewing Roots (Link)
Scratch was one of the more interesting breweries at the festival. Eschewing hops in favor of unique, foraged ingredients, they craft beers unlike any others. Roots wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, but it was refreshingly different, with a pungent ginger profile.
40. Jessup Farm Fancy Pants (Link)
39. La Cumbre Elevated IPA (Link)
38. Fate Pinot Noir Uror (Link)
37. Liquid Mechanics Peanut Butter Porter (Link)
36. Avery Double Dry-Hopped Maharaja (Link)
35. Funky Buddha No Crusts (Link)
34. Great Notion Ripe IPA (Link)
I admittedly love Great Notion, and I have since visiting them late last year. Their Ripe IPA is very good, though it blends in with so many other hazy, juicy IPAs I’ve had. Still, the long line is all you need to know about the quality of beer Great Notion cranks out.
33. Green Cheek Clichaze (Link)
32. WeldWerks Key Lime Pie Berliner (Link)
31. The Bruery White Chocolate (Link)
30. The Rare Barrel For Ever More (Link)
29. Green Cheek Cocohut Milkshake (Link)
28. J’Dubs Atocha (Link)
27. Broken Compass Coconut Porter (Link)
So. Much. Coconut.
26. Kuhnhenn DRIPA (Link)
25. Societe Brewing The Pupil (Link)
24. Foothills Sexual Chocolate (Link)
23. Cigar City Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (Link)
22. Speciation Sweet Cherry Incipient (Link)
Speciation was one of the surprise hits for me at this year’s festival. Their delicate beers were loaded with fruit flavor, and the cherries really shined here.
21. Scratch Brewing Bark (Link)
20. Toppling Goliath Mornin’ Delight (Link)
I expected to like Mornin’ Delight more. Not that it was bad—far from it—but it was one of the most hyped beers at the festival. Still, it was better than good, with dark, bitter coffee notes and hints of maple syrup.
19. Kane Sunday Brunch (Link)
18. Bottle Logic Darkstar November (Link)
17. Black Project Covert #1 (Link)
16. Noble Ale Works Naughty Sauce (Link)
Give me this and Carton Regular Coffee and I’ll never drink anything with breakfast but beer.
15. Odd Side Ales Rye Hipster Brunch Stout (Link)
14. Toppling Goliath King Sue (Link)
13. Black Project Cygnus (Link)
12. WeldWerks Double Dry-Hopped Juicy Bits (Link)
11. Crooked Stave Nightmare on Brett (Barrel Aged) (Link)
10. Liquid Mechanics Barrel Aged Awesomeness (Link)
The name is very accurate.
9. Cigar City Life Is Like (Link)
8. Speciation Tequila Barrel-Aged Incipient (Link)
7. Bottle Logic Jam the Radar (Link)
6. The Bruery Black Tuesday (Link)
5. WeldWerks Coffee Maple Achromatic (Link)
4. Fremont The Rusty Nail (Link)
3. Great Notion Blueberry Muffin (Link)
If you put a blueberry muffin into a Vitamix, you’d have this beer.
2. Black Project Jumpseat (Link)
1. Bottle Logic Fundamental Observation (Link)
Fundamental Observation has been on my Must Try list for sometime. I was resigned to the belief that it would never live up to the hype. I was wrong. It exceeds everything I heard about it. The vanilla is prominent but it plays nice with the other elements. It’s like drinking velvet. I didn’t want to make it the number one beer on this list, but, honestly, it had to be.