Great American Beer Festival announces 2015 brewery lineup

Soak it all in, craft beer lovers: the Great American Beer Festival this morning unveiled the roster of nearly 750 breweries pouring at this year’s event.

The list was posted before the beginning of the mad rush that is ticket presale open to members of the Brewers Association and the American Homebrewers Association. We’ll be writing about that, too. (So far so good, according to the Twittersphere).

Earlier this month, GABF organizers announced that more than 800 breweries would be represented. The list released includes 746.

We’ve started combing through it for notable trends, omissions and new arrivals. Here’s what we’ve gathered so far:

— Colorado is bringing big numbers as usual, dwarfing some regions. More than 150 Centennial State breweries will man tables at GABF, or roughly half of the state’s breweries. This will bring exposure to newbies such as Ratio Beerworks, Goldspot Brewing and a slew of other joining the mainstays of the Colorado craft beer scene. One participant that jumped out at us: The innovators at Former Future Brewing are pouring not as Former Future but as their even more experimental side project, Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales, a hit right out of the gates with local beer geeks.

— Some of Colorado’s most buzzed-about breweries are absent from the list. You’ll have to venture out elsewhere to sample beers from Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project of Denver, Casey Brewing and Blending in Glenwood Springs, Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs, TRVE Brewing of Denver and Hogshead Brewery of Denver. At least some of these breweries — along with smaller artisans from across the country — will represent at the What the Funk festival begun by Crooked Stave a couple years ago.

For Casey fans, all is not lost. Troy Casey has posted on Facebook that he’ll be pouring around town GABF week:

Sunday September 20th – Something in Boulder
Wednesday September 23rd – What the Funk?
Thursday September 24th – Mini Tap Takeover – 5 pm TBA
Friday September 25th – Denver Rare Beer Festival
Saturday September 26th – Tap Take Over 5 PM TBA

— One of the biggest disappointments is the omission of Toppling Goliath Brewery out of Iowa, one of the absolute standouts from last year’s fest. We’ll be in touch to find out what factored in that decision. Other past participants sitting out this year’s festival: The Commons out of Portland and Half Acre Beer Co. of Chicago, of Daisy Cutter pale ale fame. Dark Horse out of Michigan, which is featured on a History Channel show, is also sitting out this year.

— One don’t miss GABF debutante: J. Wakefield Brewing out of Miami, which wowed the WTF?! crowds a couple of years ago with its Florida-style berliner weisses before the brewery even opened. Another to check out is Lawson’s Finest Liquids from Vermont, whose Sunshine line of IPAs are among the most heavily traded IPAs on the market.

— Among the big-name breweries that skipped 2014 but return this year: Michigan stalwarts Founders and Minneapolis-based heavy-metal themed brewery Surly.

— Returning are past favorites Cigar City Brewing, Russian River, New Glarus, Melvin Brewing, Dogfish Head, Almanac Beer Co., Bayou Teche Brewing, Pfriem Family Brewers, Brasserie St. James out of Reno (a new find last year) and North Carolina’s Wicked Weed Brewing, which is going all out with three booths.

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