When attending the Great American Beer Festival at the Denver Convention center in downtown Denver, CO, there are a variety of experiences to be had beyond just the beer drinking. (Though obviously, beer is number one.) If you’re a designated driver for the night and looking for something fun, or if you’re several dozen beers in and feeling a little adventurous, try checking out some of these extra amenities that the festival offers.
Silent Disco – You already know what a disco is. Now picture one without any sound at all. In a silent disco, the dance floor is occupied by people getting jiggy with it all wearing headphones. The disco’s DJ mixes the tunes and the music signal is sent to the headphones so that only those on the dance floor can hear the music. It may look a little awkward to those on the outside, but to those wearing headphones, it’s a lot of fun. For bonus amusement, there are several beer costumes provided by Oskar Blues brewery that are hilarious to see in action.
Karaoke – Everyone’s favorite drunk pastime is a definite plus at any drinking event, and GABF didn’t miss the opportunity to let avid karaoke enthusiasts belt out their favorite tunes to the festival audience. With a varied song selection and decent-sized stage, singers, those-who-think-they-can-sing, and those-who-are-too-drunk-to-care can have a lot of fun. And if you’re feeling a little stage-fright, don’t worry. The song volume is admittedly not too loud, letting only those directly in front of the stage hear you. …Occasionally, that can be a good thing. (If only most karaoke bars let you drown out some songs with just a few steps away from the mic.)
Merch – Near the exit of the event is a sizeable section dedicated to beer and brewery-themed merchandise. If you’d like to commemorate your visit to the festival with a limited-edition GABF souvenir T-shirt, or if you misplaced your keychain bottle opener like I always do, you can get it here. Many of the items available are exclusive to the event, so if you have extra cash on hand be sure to check out all the items on sale before you leave.
Live music – At a few spots during the festival, you can occasionally find live musicians playing on the convention floor. The music selection is thankfully not too eclectic or bothersome, but aptly fitted to the festival’s easy-going atmosphere. I walked by several folk bands, none of which had vocalists, but talented musicians playing guitar, drums, a fiddle and an upright bass. It was an appreciated addition to the festival’s mood.
Food – If you’re looking for something to soak up all that alcohol, or just in the mood for some fantastic grub, there is a wide selection of food vendors at the event. They offer everything from pizza to pretzels to popcorn, with many options that pair well with the varied beer styles available.
There is lots of fun to be had beyond the beer at the Great American Beer Festival, and it’s not hard to find. So whether your attending but not drinking, or looking for something to experience besides beer, be sure to check out all the festival offers.