Great American Beer Festival: A Beer Bookworm’s Paradise

By Kirby Bennett

This year’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF) was a hit! One of the coolest things about the festival is all the things there are to do BESIDES tasting amazing beers from all over the country. One of my favorite parts is the Beer Enthusiast Bookstore and the opportunities it gives you to meet the authors of beer books, snap a picture with them, and get an autographed copy or two (or five).

Have you ever gone to a commercial bookstore looking for beer books and left frustrated and empty handed? Then this booth is your paradise! There are books on every subject pertaining to beer: history, brewing techniques, food and beer pairing, travel, cooking with beer and more.

These are no obligatory book tour signings either. The authors are just as enthusiastic to sign your books as you are to get them signed. John Palmer (How to Brew, Brewing Classic Styles) said he is “always pleased to meet new brewers as well as veteran brewers during book signings, whether they have a book to sign or not.” He appreciates when “people just want to take the opportunity to introduce themselves and say Thank You.”

For Mitch Steele (IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale) the experience was “flattering and humbling”. Steele delighted in talking with “homebrewers and professional brewers” and “thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiasm they had toward the subject of IPA!” 

This year there were over 50 signing sessions in just three days, with authors like Ray Daniels (Designing Great Beers, Smoked Beers, Brown Ale), Randy Mosher (Radical Brewing, Tasting Beer), and Stan Hieronymus (Brewing with Wheat, Brew Like a Monk), and next year there will be even more!

Be sure to get your books ahead of time from Brewers Publications, and bring them to GABF 2013 to get signed. For a full list if this year’s signings, visit the Beer Enthusiast Bookstore section of the Great American Beer Festival website.


Kirby BennettKirby Bennett’s love of craft beer started in 2002 when she was living in Amsterdam and discovered an amazing bottleshop called De Bierkoning. A long ways now from sipping La Trappe on the canals, she is currently the Craft Beer Program intern for the Brewers Association. She is a Cicerone® Certified Beer Server, holds a BA in English, dabbles in homebrewing, and makes a mean quinoa salad. She hopes to continue her career somewhere in the distribution world, then someday open a sustainable beer bar in whatever city she decides to settle in!