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Great Taste of the Midwest takes runner-up spot

Beer festivals not only offer attendees the chance to sample numerous brews – sometimes even rare and one-off pours – these events also allow beer fans to dialog with their favorite brewmasters, sample paired foods and learn about a host of topics related to beer and brewing. 

  • Denver becomes ground zero for beer fans each fall, when the Brewers Association presents the largest collection of American beers in one spot at this premier US beer festival. Hundreds of breweries participate, and beers are served by their brewers, giving enthusiasts the opportunity to speak with them personally. An educational component features talks by top brewers and innovators, beer-making demos, beer pairing sessions and even a pavilion dedicated to sustainability. The festival is also a competition, with medals being awarded in more than 90 beer style categories.
    Photo courtesy of Photo © Brewers Association

  • One of the longest-running beer events in North America, this craft beer festival brings more than 190 of the Midwest’s finest craft brewers to Madison each year. Attendees can taste more than 1,400 beers, attend beer-centric seminars, sample foods from local vendors and enjoy acoustic music, all while strolling through a beautiful park overlooking Lake Monona. As a bonus, many area restaurants offer special tastings and beer pairings in the days leading up to the fest.
    Photo courtesy of Scott R. Maurer

  • Each spring, beer enthusiasts in the Atlantic City area descend upon the convention center for a weekend filled with suds, sounds and surprises. The Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival has been going strong for over a decade, adding new elements to each edition. Besides sampling more than 1,000 beers from 200 different breweries, attendees can rock out to headlining bands, watch culinary demos from local chefs and compete with other beer geeks in a variety of competitions like hot wing eating, field goal kicking and a 5K Hops Trot that stops at some of Atlantic City’s most popular watering holes.
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  • The Shelton Brothers are passionate beer importers who seek out and hand-select beer from the best small, artisanal brewers in the world, so their annual “movable fest” is guaranteed to feature the best craft brews and ciders. The Festival takes place in a different city each year and highlights that city’s craft beer scene, while also hosting brewers from around the country and the world. Many beers are created just for the festival and can’t be found anywhere else.
    Photo courtesy of Shelton Brothers Importers / Facebook

  • One of New York State's largest craft beer and food events, TAP New York Craft Beer and Food Festival brings more than 120 breweries pouring over 400 beers to Hunter Mountain each April for two days of tastings, food pairings and beer competitions. 
    Photo courtesy of TAP New York Craft Beer and Food Festival

  • During this annual July event, more than 100 Michigan breweries come together with over 1,000 different craft beers for a celebration of suds and summer. Michigan bands provide live music as festival goers sip their favorite brews in Ypsilanti's Riverside Park.
    Photo courtesy of Chuck Marshall, Life in Michigan

  • This Louisville fest is all about beer and planes, and a great way to warm up in the dead of winter. Beer enthusiasts and flight fanatics gather amid a display of WWII-era aircraft at Bowman Field in the hangar at Louisville Executive Aviation. Also known as “Louisville’s Winter Warmer,” the event features more than 150 craft beers – including a section dedicated to Kentucky brews – thus raising temps in chilly February. Attendees will also enjoy live music, the best of Louisville food trucks and great photo ops with vintage planes, pin-up girls and “fly boys.“
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  • The usually wine-centric town of Paso Robles turns their attention to the fine art of craft beer each June during the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. This single-day, intimate gathering of beer lovers and brewmasters showcases brews from more than 50 American and international breweries.
    Photo courtesy of Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest

  • Breckenridge gets a winter warmup each year during the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival. Visitors to the Colorado Rockies during this event can meet with brewers and sample hundreds of Belgian and experimental beers over the course of three days. A growing offering of beer and brewing seminars teach skills like cigar pairing, food pairing, experimental brewing and a Cicerone workshop.
    Photo courtesy of Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival

  • 3 Floyds Brewing Co.'s Dark Lord – a high-alcohol Russian imperial stout brewed with coffee, vanilla and sugar or molasses – has been ranked one of the best beers in the world, but it’s only available for purchase at this annual event at the brewery in Munster, Ind. Attendance is limited, and the 6,000 lucky enthusiasts gather to sample beers from around the world, mingle with fellow beer fans, enjoy food and live music and get their hands on the highly sought-after Dark Lord.
    Photo courtesy of 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Beer Festival are as follows: 

  1. Great American Beer Festival - Denver
  2. Great Taste of the Midwest - Leisure winter winter Leisure Denim Shorts Seven7 Madison, Wis.
  3. Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival - Atlantic City
  4. The Festival - Location Varies
  5. TAP New York Craft Beer and Food Festival - Shorts Leisure Seven7 winter Leisure Denim winter Hunter Mountain, N.Y.
  6. Michigan Summer Beer Festival - Ypsilanti, Mich.
  7. Tailspin Ale Fest - Louisville
  8. Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest - Paso Robles, Calif.
  9. Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival - Breckenridge, Colo.
  10. Dark Lord Day - Munster, Ind.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Ruth Berman (Bon Beer Voyage), Julia Herz ( Beer & Food Course), Gary Monterosso (What’s On Tap), Jack Muldowney (The Hop Review) and Ale Sharpton were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the North American beer scene.

Congratulations to all these winning beer festivals!

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