October 11-13, 2012
There’s no better place to learn about the craft of brewing—or get wickedly tipsy—than the Great American Beer Festival (about $60; greatamericanbeerfestival.com), the largest of its kind in the U.S. Every year, nearly 50,000 people show up to this downtown Denver institution to sip unlimited one-ounce samples of more than 2,200 beers, from fruity wheats to chocolate stouts. (According to the Guinness Book of World Records, no other place on earth has as many beers on tap.) Rub shoulders with the country’s top brewmasters, taste pairings of local food and limited-edition brews, and dance at the silent disco, where music is piped in through dancers’ headphones—a ridiculous sight to the uninitiated. Just don’t forget the designated driver.
Stay: For the Great American Beer Festival, Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel & Spa (from $152; brownpalace.com) partners with the local Wynkoop Brewery to produce a limited edition beer. It also has six restaurants and serves lobby cocktails with live music.