The Great American Beer Festival can be quite overwhelming when you walk through those doors with your glass in hand and people rushing past you towards their favorite breweries and beers. I had a mild panic attack my first year with no game plan and over 2,000 potential beers to try. Well this year I have a game plan, and I thought I would share with you some of the breweries I’ll be trying based on region and in no particular order. My list is a lot different than Eric’s list of CO Breweries and Non-CO Breweries. Here you go:

GREAT LAKES

Bell’s Brewery – They always have amazing beer and bring some limited beers.
Goose Island Beer Company – Be on the lookout for their Boubon County Stout
Great Lakes Brewing – A Cleveland brewery that makes some very tasty seasonals. Look for their Christmas ale
Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Company – Look for the Boris The Crusher or Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales – Great line of sours.
New Glarus Brewing Company – Be prepared for a long line. Try their fruit beers.
New Holland Brewing Company – Check out Dragon’s Milk if you haven’t tried it.
Shorts Brewing – Last years favorite beer had to be their Key Lime Pie. Expect long lines.
Three Floyds – Their IPAs are world class. The Dark Lord is a legend.

MID-ATLANTIC

Brewery Ommegang – some of the best Belgian inspired beers made in the USA
Dogfish Head Brewery – Long line alert! They usually bring some rare beers. Sam should be there too!
Weyerbacher Brewing – Very tasty IPAs and seasonals

MIDWEST
Boulevard Brewing – The Smokestack series beers should not be missed.
Minneapolis Town Hall – A small brewery but amazing beers. Try Masala Mama IPA or Czar Jack imperial stout if they are serving these treats.

NEW ENGLAND
New England Brewing – Imperial Stout Trooper shouldn’t be missed if it’s being served.
Portsmouth Brewery– Small brewery that makes amazing beer. Kate the Great is a legend.
Smuttynose Brewing– Great all around beers.

PACIFIC
21st Amendment – Look for their seasonals
Alesmith – Check out any of their beer, especially Speedway Stout.
Alpine Beer– These guys are making some delicious IPAs.
Ballast Point – Look for Sculpin IPA
The Bruery – Long line alert! Try anything they are serving.
Firestone Walker Brewery – If the Anniversary Ale or Porobala is pouring, fill your cup.
Green Flash – Great IPAs and seasonals
Heretic Brewing – The new kid on the block but probably has the most buzz this year. I’m really excited to try their beer!
Lagunitas – Always great beer and interesting beer names.
The Lost Abbey – Long line alert! Try whatever sounds good.
Pizza Port – There’s four of them and tons of beer. Expect some of their beers to medal again this year. They’re not just a pizza shop!
Russian River – Long line alert! Amazing sours!
Stone Brewing – Long line alert! They usually bring a couple beers that aren’t distributed.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST
Alaskan Brewing – Alaskan smoked Porter from the keg is a real treat
Barley Brown’s Brew Pub – This small brewery wins awards every year, hop heavy beers.
Black Raven – Getting the most hype in the Seattle region these days. Check them out!
Breakside Brewery – Really experimental, aged, and lost historical beers from what I’ve read about them online.
Deschutes Brewery – Maybe they will bring the Abyss or Dissident again this year!
Hopworks Urban Brewery– Some great IPAs from this Portland brewery
Laurelwood Brewing– A hophead’s delight, as Eric would say.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN
Bull and Bush – They always bring something interesting.
Dry Dock – They always do well at GABF
Epic Brewing– Amazing Saisons and other seasonals. I’m excited to see what they brought.
Funkwerks – Another saison machine. My favorite newcomer last year from this region
Great Divide – Expect some one off Yetis!
Odell – Hopefully some Woodcut #5 will be poured.
Redstone Meadery – You have to take a break from beer sometime right?
Trinity – Jason Yester is bringing his whole arsenal this year. Get ready for some amazing saisons and sours!

SOUTHEAST
Cigar City– Long line alert! Try anything they have! My favorite last year.
Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery– Never tried their beer but have heard plenty of good things
Foothills Brewing– I hope they bring a couple bottles of Sexual Chocolate!
Terrapin Beer – Some really amazing and unique beers.

SOUTHWEST
Real Ale Brewing – They usually bring some unique beers.

Breweries not on the list but a must try if they make it:
Founders
Dark Horse
Upright
Surly
Crooked Stave
Southern Tier
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Categories: Beer