by Arthur Gowdy

Since its conception in 1982, certain traditions and norms of the Great American Beer Festival have been solidified. If you're looking to attend this praise of pints next year, here are some lessons to rememver so you're not the beer-soaked butt of the jokes. You can thank us later.

It may be November, but let's talk about October. This past October, in fact. October in Colorado is a magical time. The leaves are turning, pumpkins are all the rage and a magical event occurs in Denver, The Great American Beer Festival. Boasting as the largest brewing competition and beer festival in the country brewers and beer lovers far and wide flock to Denver like the legendary Salmon of Capistrano. Brewers come with keg in cart and tasters come with pretzel necklaces adorned to partake in this annual spectacle of inebriation and absolute glorification to man’s favorite alcoholic gift, beer.

The Great American Beer Festival has been in existence since 1982. Since conception, traditions and norms of the festival have been solidified and if you’re looking to attend this praise of pints here are some lessons to remember so that you don’t have thousands of people taunting you simultaneously like Nelson from The Simpsons. We’re not kidding. Ha Haaa!

1. We wanted to try everything. We didn't even come close.

Row upon row of table with on average 3 beers per vendor line the convention center. The samples range in taste from what you would expect in a beer to the experimental red headed stepchildren that a brewer has waited to release unto the world. Originally the idea was to go down the rows table by tables sampling them all but with crowds swirling and bladders filling we quickly learned that finding the vendors with the least amount of people was the most practical.

2. Costumes are acceptable.

Got some lederhosen burning a hole in that closet? Bust that shit out! Our advice would be to try to keep in line with the theme of the event. Beer wenches and wearing a keg is kosher. Dressing up like a pirate? Not so much. It’s a beer festival people, not a frat party. Thank the Alaskan Brewing Company for the bears.

3. The bathroom lines are the longest lines in the world.

Breaking the seal occurs at the festival within the first hour to 30 minutes of being there. If you don’t have to go to the bathroom during the event, please seek medical attention, there is something wrong with you. The lines to the normal facilities of the convention center are gridlocked, so avoid those bathrooms and go to the smoking section where a utopia of port-o-potties await. Wander the line and spot someone coming out of one or play the Russian roulette style and gamble scarring your retinas with foulness.

4. Going for two sessions in a row is a bad idea.

The festival lasts for 3 days with 2 sessions happening on Saturday. Our advice if you can acquire tickets go as many days as you can but by all means do not go for both Saturday sessions. This event is about appreciating beer, not being a drunken fool. Instead of getting so intoxicated to the point where the taste is not even a factor for you anymore, give that ticket to someone that will appreciate it.

5. There's a beer for everyone.

4,863 beers were judged at the GABF this year. While trying every beer is not likely, finding a beer that absolutely blows your mind is. This year a beer from Short’s Brewery located in Bellaire, MI called Bourbon Aphasia did just that. This beer tasted like a liquid butterscotch candy and is an ale aged in bourbon barrels. Only at GABF would you get to try such a variety of amazing beers. Step out of your comfort zone and try some beers you wouldn’t normally.

6. Try the cheese

A deliciously horrifying truth is that America’s use of cheese in cuisine can be compared to Asian cuisines use of rice. So America’s largest beer festival is properly equipped by the American Cheese Society to provide a touch of cheesy class to the experience. From Vermont to California delicious cheeses are sampled out with the appropriate beer pairing. Take a break from the beer and let your eyes roll into the back of your head like the exorcist girl while the product of happy cows makes you a happy drunk.

7. You will get separated. Plan ahead.

You're drunk, every person you came with is drunk. There are thousands of other drunk people all around you. And now your phone is dead. What now? Have a plan for where to meet your crew when you get separated from them. It will happen.

8. The number of bickering and fighting couples was scary.

So if you feel like giving your relationship a test or making the end into an event to remember, bring the significant other along and see what happens.

9. Hold on to your glass. Whatever you do, don't drop the glass.

Every patron upon entering the festival is given a mini pint glass that they can then use for tasting at each of the 732 breweries represented. But beware these glasses. They are made of either plastic or glass depending on the session you go to and the distinct sound of one of these glasses hitting the ground and bouncing or worse, shattering is a very unique sound. So unique in fact that any person that hears this sound bursts into a chorus of ridicule and any person that hears it joins in. Before you know it a large portion of the Denver Convention Center is shaming you in unison. In the words of a guidance counselor, “Don’t be that guy.”