The Great American Beer Festival. The name alone conjures up visions of yummy malted goodness, but the festival is much more. It is a celebration of American craftsmanship, pride and ingenuity. The festival, known to most as GABF, began way back in 1982 and although it may seem not that long ago, with all that has transpired in craft beer in the last 30 years, it feels like a lifetime.
30 years ago the American Home Brewers Association (AHA), the precursor to the Brewers Association, was in its 4th year of existence, having formed in 1978 when the federal government officially legalized home brewing. Coming up on(Approaching) its fourth annual conference, AHA decided to hold a festival celebrating American craft breweries. This was a momentous occasion, as the beer scene in the United States was virtually non-existent since prohibition ended and the U.S. was only recently seeing a resurgence of breweries opening up, with Jack McAuliffe’s New Albion Brewing having kick started the revolution in the mid 70′s. Although New Albion lasted only a few years, Jack inspired many to start their own breweries, most notably the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.