With the incredible popularity of craft beer you can find a beer festival close by just about every weekend. These festivals are a great way to sample beer but can be very overwhelming if you don’t have a plan to get through the day. Don’t worry, we got you covered! Here are 8 tips to make your beer festival experience one to remember!
Eat Before You Go
We believe in putting down the base of a good meal before a beer festival. Don’t get caught with only a pretzel necklace to get you through the day. Getting some slow digesting protein in your belly will keep you from earning a nickname from your friends for being a lightweight.
A beer festival is not the place to show up with a buzz. You probably paid somewhere around 50 bucks to sample beers, so save the room for them instead. A beer festival is not a drunk festival, it is a place to try new beers, sample breweries you haven’t tried before, and to meet the people making the beer. Don’t be that guy or girl who is sleeping on a bench half way through the event.
Use Public Transportation or a Designated Driver
We always suggest you take public transportation to a festival, but if that is not an option you need to make sure you have a way to get home safely. Most beer fests now offer designated driver tickets at a highly discounted rate, and sometimes have special swag bags for them as well. Don’t be the dummy who gets a DUI.
Have an In-Festival Game Plan
- Check the Weather, especially if it an outside festival (Duh!). The show must go on so make sure you are prepared for anything including heat, cold, rain, snow, wind, etc.
- Check out the layout of the event
- Know the breweries that will be participating and make a list of the ones you want to try
- Have a meeting place for your party after the festival
- Bring a small backpack. It may be a pain to carry, but it is worth it. Not only does it hold your swag, you can bring some essentials like hand sanitizer, sunscreen, cheap rain ponchos, a few bottles of water, and a little snack. We like this one by Waterfly.
“Review the list of beers and find the 10 you would to try the most. After 10 samples, your pallet won’t be at its finest. Everything starts to taste better after 20oz of beer. Plus, there will be 80-100 beers to sample, and you can’t try them all! And, no, that is not a challenge!”
~ Kyle Veale, Director of Operations, Landmark Americana; Organizer, Glassboro Beer Fest
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Water is your friend. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it causes you to go #1 more often and you lose valuable fluid and electrolytes. All of those trips to the bathroom may leave you dehydrated and it increases the effects of alcohol on the body. Dehydration also will intensify headaches and your hangover. Nobody wants a hangover. A popular strategy is “1 for 1”, one serving of water for every serving of alcohol. Most beer festivals provide potable water for just that reason, but you might want to bring your own insulated water bottle just in case. We like using this one with a lanyard. You cannot drink enough water!
“I would say my survival tip for any beer fest goer is to check out what breweries or beers are coming in advance (website or Untappd) and make a plan so you don’t miss out on a favorite or one that is hard to find! It’s easy to get in that day and be overwhelmed. Close behind is hydration, which is why the Summer Swelter provides free drinking water.”
~ Adam Mazzola, Co-Organizer, Summer Swelter Beer Fest
This is not a frat party or a kegger. This is an opportunity to sample beers with like-minded people and expand your beer drinking horizons. If you are coming to get drunk you should probably stay home and spend that ticket money on a case of Natty Light.
“Know how the effects of Alcohol play a role in your personality. People come to a festival to have a good time and share a beer with new and old friends. Be respectful of that. If you have a tendency to be an asshole when you drink think about being a designated driver. No one wants to hang out with an asshole.”
~ Jon Henderson, Good TimeTricycle Productions, AC Beer & Music Festival and Witch-Craft
- Get your sample and move out of the way, there are probably a bunch of people behind you waiting for their turn. If you want to have a conversation with the brewery staff go to the side of the booth and ask a question, most will be happy to accommodate you. Nobody likes a line stopper.
- Be patient! If the line is long I assure you the people are working as fast as they can to pour beer!
- It is ok to ask for a smaller pour. Pace yourself
- It is ok to dump something you don’t like, just don’t make a show of it or do it in front of the brewery. Not everyone likes everything and it is ok not to finish it
Know When It is Time to Leave
Most beer festivals run 4 hours. That does not mean that you need to be there all 4 hours. Know your limit and if you need to leave before last call it is not a big deal. But if you do stay all 4 hours don’t linger. If the lights come on, the taps close, and the workers are trying to usher you out don’t be a camper. At closing time, the work is just getting started for all the breweries that were there: breaking down booths, cleaning up, and getting stuff to their truck is not a lot of fun.
Most of All, HAVE FUN
This is a great experience for any beer lover. Whether you are a craft beer veteran or are just learning about beer, this is a perfect opportunity to learn about new beer styles, meet the brewers, and have fun doing it. If you are coming to get hammered you are wasting what could be a great learning experience.
What are some of your go to beer fest survival tips?
Make sure to stop and see South Jersey Beer Scene at the the Glassboro Beer Festival (9/28 in Glassboro, NJ), and Witch-Craft (10/19 at Lenape Park in Mays Landing, NJ)!