If done right, a beer festival can be the perfect way to spend an early fall afternoon. Whether you are a lager fan or more of an IPA kind of person, the sheer amount of variety to choose from is enough to make anyone who doesn’t know the difference between a stout and a porter feel a bit overwhelmed. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, there is no other place on earth where a beer aficionado can find more beers on tap than the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), held each fall (October 3-5) in The Mile High City for more than 30 years.

Rightfully so, Denver’s 11th Annual Beer Week is happening September 27 – October 5 and following is a guide to some of the best things to do over the course of this nine-day celebration of all things beer!

History and Homebrewers
After founding Coors Brewery in 1873, German immigrant Adolf Coors brewed an amber concoction with fresh Rocky Mountain water from natural springs around his Golden brewery. Soon after, the “Miners Banquet” became a favorite among locals and in the following years, Coors Brewery became one of the largest manufactures of beer in the United States. Inevitably so, Denver’s long beer history has brought about an increasing population filled with beer lovers. Today, there are 15 brewpubs and microbreweries in downtown Denver alone including two of the largest in the nation. To fully explore Colorado’s brewing past, present, and future during Denver’s Beer Week, visit the Brewing in the New West Exhibition. From 19th-century beer brewing equipment to the nation’s first aluminum beer cans, you’ll find a new appreciation for the art of brewing.

Beer Trail & Tours
The city of Denver invites you to explore local beer culture and flavor by visiting some of the 100+ brewpubs, breweries and taprooms in the metro area. As part of the Denver Beer Trail, you’ll find a list of breweries and an interactive map, to help your self-guided tour. For a more personal experience, opt for a private tour at one of many participating locations and get your exclusive behind-the-scenes look. If you have a larger group of friends, Denver Brew Tours allows you to pick the breweries.

If you’re over 21 and looking for a great way to spend some free time, you should definitely consider participating in the 11th annual Denver Beer Week. While a majority of events are in the Downtown area, you can find tons of other tours and breweries to discover across the front range. If you are in the Denver area, make a night of your outing and grab a hotel downtown so that you can easily get from place to place safely!