Sit & Sip with Breweries at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival

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If you’re coming to the 2017 Great American Beer Festival®, come take a seat, grab a beer, and spend some one-on-one time with breweries at our Sit & Sips.

We’ve invited owners and brewers from 10 breweries of all sizes to sit down, pour you a special selection of their beers, and tell you about what it’s like to run a brewery. It all happens at the Pavilion. Here’s a look at the faces behind the beer that you can catch up with this year.

(DOWNLOAD: Great American Beer Festival Bingo Card) Hosts GABF Sit & Sips

Thursday, October 5

6:15 p.m. – Branden, Carissa and Chad Miller, Founders – Black Shirt Brewing Co. | Denver, CO

Black Shirt Brewing (BSB) opened in Denver’s River North (RiNo) neighborhood in 2012 – and that’s before it was as hip as it is now. You may have seen some of their story in the documentary “Crafting a Nation,” which streams on Netflix, but now you can come chat with them in person. This is their first time pouring at GABF.

7:15 p.m. – Adrien Widman, Owner/Founder; Mike McCarthy, Brewer; Jack Snyder, Asst Brewer – Ocelot Brewing Co. | Dulles, VA

Saying Ocelot Brewing loves music is probably an understatement: Their logo is a guitar pick, their brewing tanks feature the names of their favorite musicians, their beers are named after songs and they got their name of their brewery from a Phish song. Come chat music and beer with this Virginia brewery.

8:15 p.m. – Neil Fisher, Head Brewer/Owner; Colin Jones, Owner – WeldWerks Brewing Co. | Greeley, CO

WeldWerks opened in Greeley in 2015, scoring a GABF silver for its Hefeweizen its first go-around. Then they were voted USA Today’s Best New Brewery in America in 2016. It’s also no secret that if you want a New England Style IPA, WeldWerks and its Juicy Bits has you covered. Hear what it’s like to manage a brewery and almost instant popularity.

(EVENTS: Find GABF News & Events)

Friday, October 6

6:15 p.m. – Jon Lamb, Chad Misner and Zach Gardner – Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing Co. | Cedar Park, TX

About 25 miles north of downtown Austin, Red Horn Coffee House & Brewing Co. makes your two favorite beverages: beer and coffee. Come talk with the guys during their first time at GABF.

7:15 p.m. – Laura Bell, Owner and CEO – Bell’s Brewery, Inc. | Galesburg, MI

In early 2017, Laura Bell was named CEO of Bell’s, the brewery her father Larry founded when she was 2. She grew up doing odd jobs around the brewery, eventually decided to make it her career after she graduated from Michigan State University.

8:15 p.m. – Chad Yakobson, Owner and Brewer – Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project | Denver, CO

Chad Yakobson is a Colorado native and an authority on Brettanomyces, which has allowed him to make Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project a darling brewery for sour and funky beer fans. Come hear about Crooked Stave’s latest ventures, including their foray into non-Brett beers.

(LEARN: Beer 101 Online Course)

Saturday, October 7

1:15 p.m. – Mitch Ermatinger, Founder – Speciation Artisan Ales | Comstock Park, MI

Mitch Ermatinger, founder of Speciation Artisan Ales, is fascinated by fermentation – he’s also pretty much a brewer without a brewhouse. Find out how he built a profitable brewery in an unconventional way.

2:15 p.m. – Kevin Ryan and Meredith Sutton, Founders – Service Brewing Co. | Savannah, GA

CEO Kevin Ryan knows a lot about service: He served eight years in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Iraq as a company commander. From supporting the Tiny House Project for homeless veterans to K9s for Warriors, Service is more than name for Kevin and Meredith: it’s a mission.

6:15 p.m. – Mark Hastings, Head Brewer – Überbrew | Billings, MT

The 2016 Great American Beer Festival was a coming out party for Montana’s small and independent brewers. Überbrew alone took home two gold medals, one silver and one bronze. They were also named Small Brewing Company of the Year. Come hear from head brewer Mark Hastings about how he makes the magic happen.

7:15 p.m. – Wayne Wambles, Brewmaster and Neil Callaghan, El Lector – Cigar City Brewing | Tampa, FL

Tampa’s Cigar City is a bucket list brewery for a lot of beer nerds, especially during its Hunahpu Day, the once-a-year release of its popular “whale” Hunahpu Imperial Stout. Come hear more from brewmaster Wayne Wambles and El Lector Neil Callaghan about what’s next at Cigar City.

Jess Baker walked into a beer fest in 2010 and realized beer had come a long way from what her dad had been drinking since the 70s. She served as editor-in-chief of from spring 2016 to spring 2020, bringing you stories about the people who are the heartbeat behind U.S. craft brewing. She's a runner, a die-hard Springsteen fan, a mom who is always scouting family-friendly breweries, and always in search of a darn good porter. is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.