Welcome to the 16th Annual Great Alaska Beer and Barley Wine Festival!
– 14 Jan 2011 (Fri), 5-10 pm ($35.).
– 15 Jan 2011 (Sat), 2-5 pm (Connoisseur Session $45.)
– 15 Jan 2011 (Sat), 6-10 pm ($35.).
Location: William A. Egan Civic and Convention Center, 5th Ave, Anchorage AK.
Age: MUST be 21 years of age or older – NO EXCEPTIONS. No kids, infants, toddlers, pets, etc.
Bring official ID.
– On-line at TicketMaster (cost adds $2-7 “fee” per ticket): http://www.ticketmaster.com/search?q=Beer+Barley+Wine+Festival
– In person pre-event at the Sullivan Arena Box Office (open M-F, 12-4pm)
– In person immediately before the event. *Last year there was a very long line wrapping around the arena in freezing temperatures. Buy them beforehand!!!
Cost includes: 6 oz glass, 30 samples, ID bracelets, official programs.
Coat Check: 2010’s event offered a coat check for donations.
Supports the American Diabetes Association.
Official Announcement: http://auroraproductions.net/docs/2011%20GABBF%20General%20Show%20Info.pdf
Lodging: Many downtown hotels offer a discount for festival attendees. Copper Whale Inn, Hotel Captain Cook, Historic Anchorage Hotel are listed on the official announcement.
Safety: Put a few cab numbers and spare cash for fare in your pocket or purse for easy access. Do it for other peoples’ safety if not for your own.
Jan, 2010 Lessons Learned: Last year, some great friends of ours invited us to our first Beer and Barley Wine festival. Little did we know it’s quite the social event of the winter for the 21 and over crowd. We made reservations at the Copper Whale Inn at the discounted rate, bought our tickets a week in advance and strolled in the night.
The Copper Whale Inn is a nice, quaint hotel with a Bed and Breakfast feel. It’s simple, relaxed charm suited us well and the views the next morning were spectacular. We called ahead with our check-in time to convenience the staff. They were more than friendly and the accomodations were like home: spacious bedrooms, a few rooms share a bath (suite-like). We checked in, went to the Snow Goose for dinner (4:30 pm), then went to the festival (6 pm).
The first thing we noticed at the Egan Convention Center was the ticket-purchase line; it was horrible! The line was double-wide and wrapped most of the building. Many people did not wear coats; their shivering and chattering teeth supported their mistake. Since we pre-purchased our tickets, entry was quick and easy with very little wait. One lesson learned was how to purchase the pre-event tickets. We bought ours on-line and discovered they cost $14 more than the other couple ($7 per ticket). They took the lesser publicized route and picked theirs up in person at the Sullivan Arena Box Office with no extra fees. We did that this year.
The festival is a beer and barley wine paradise, comparable only to Oktoberfests without the tents. There’s music, people and wall to wall vendors selling their micro brews from all over the state. With over 200 beers offered in 2011 and with 30 samples per person, you’ll be full faster than you can imagine. If you’re not a beer aficianado, the barley wine provides a different option. There’s also drinking water scattered throughout the venue. Most vendors have lines, so the next paragraph is key.
Plan ahead! Make the most of your time and develop a strategy before you arrive. The on-line brochure offers descriptions of different beers, styles, lists of advertisers and most importantly, names and descriptions of offered brews. Print the brochure and choose your 30 choices – or at least 15. It will save you time and limit standing in the wrong line for a porter when you really want stout. The beer brochure can be found at http://auroraproductions.net/docs/2011%20GABBF%20Beer%20Guide.pdf.
The last pour is scheduled for 9:45 pm each night. We recommend getting your coat about 30 mins before leaving to avoid lines at the coat check. Security was obvious and seemed plentiful in 2010; we expect the same this year.
One last lesson learned: have snacks in your room. You’ll be hungry and most restaurants either do not serve after 10 pm or are full of patrons who left the festival before you. Pack a few boxes of crackers, a sandwich and bottled water just in case the hunger strikes post-festival. The Copper Whale Inn offered a continental breakfast the next morning which was much appreciated by our starving stomachs.
This festival is sure to break the winter cabin fever and is a must for beer lovers and people watchers alike. Plan ahead, safety first and get your tickets now!