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14th February
2012
written by LS Girl

Tips and advice on how to attend a beer fest.  What to bring to a beer fest and what to expect at your first beer fest.

I personally recommend attending at least one beer fest. They’re fun, unless you’re a recovering alcoholic.  Not as much fun if that is the case.   You probably found this post because you googled something beer related, and I hope you find this inspiring, and helpful.

Here are a few tips:

Tip One:

Find a beer event that is of interest to you.  Like any other cult following, beer has niches and specialties.  Here are a couple of links to get you started:

http://beeradvocate.com/events/

http://www.beerfestivals.org/

Choose a festival that is in an area/city/town you like, or want to visit.  Or, just stay local.

Tip Two:

Buy tickets right away.  These events sell out.  Sometimes they sell out FAST.  Most tickets average $50 or less per person.  Buy enough tickets for your friends to accompany you, unless you are a loner, in your case, buy one ticket.

Tip Three:

If you are traveling a distance to your festival, do some research on one of the sites above to see if there are any deals on hotels in the area.  I use hotwire.com.  Even with the discounts, the prices are better through hotwire.  If you’re going to a city like Boston, Chicago, LA, or NY, you will probably find a four  star hotel for around $100-$200 for the night.  There are enough good beer events throughout the country, that most of you will be able to find one that does not require the use of aircraft.  BUT… if you are already traveling somewhere, it doesn’t hurt to look and see if there is a beer event that coincides with your existing travel arrangements.

Tip Four:

I call tip four:  PEGCPSYL:  Plan, Eat, Gatorade and the Cheese Platter that will Save Your Life.

You’ll want to be in line at your beer fest about 15 – 30 minutes before the start.  Plan your travel so you have enough time to drive, eat, check in, pee, drink a Gatorade Prime gel pack, and get to the event.

Map out your route.

Eat.  Find a diner that allows you to eat about 2 hours before the start of the event.  Eat well, but don’t stuff your face.  You need to put down a foundation for your beer, while not filling your stomach so there is no real estate for brew samples.  Drink water.

Cheese Platter.  I highly recommend either making a cheese platter in your hotel room BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR THE FESTIVAL or ordering one from room service when you get back to the room.  Even if the hotel platter is $30, it will most likely be worth it.

If you are local, substitute a hotel for a cab, or chauffeured vehicle.  I do not recommend riding a bicycle to a beer event.  Mass transit can also be sketchy, due to the fact that you will be rather intoxicated when you depart, and you may be with 4,000 other people also leaving the event.

Here are some tips for the actual venue/during the fest:

Wear an obnoxious shirt, so your friends can find you in the crowd. (loners, disregard)

Get in line for the toilet before you really have to pee. (Girls, your lines may actually be SHORTER than the guy’s lines, but you take longer so it’s a wash)

Bring a small, lightweight sack, tote or backpack so you can carry a sweater/sweatshirt if needed.  Also, they will give you booklets and lists of beer, and stuff is available for sale which you may want.  I mean… THIS IS YOUR FIRST BEER EVENT!

Bring a camera, or camera phone, and take pictures.  You’ll want to remember what you did.  (very important for loners)

Once you get to the front of the line, ask these two questions  and you’ll  get the most from the event:  “what is the most interesting thing you have available?”  intertwined with, “what’s the lightest thing you have available”  this will give you a good cross section of beer tastings.  Also, some breweries have specialty beers  that are only available at the event.  Also consider, they may not distribute to your area so it’s not possible to get the beer unless you travel to the tap.  Seek out these beers.  Drink them.

Now, on this last comment.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… but I can say from my own experience, fests are not good places to pick up hot chicks.  You can pick up chicks.  (you do the math).  All you hot ladies out there… go to beer fests, that’s where the hot guys are!

In closing, expect to have beer spilled on you.  Don’t make a big deal over it.  Embrace it.  On average, if you have a basic plan of attack, or just meander  from line to line… you will easily consume 20-40 2oz average servings of different beers.  People spill.  It happens.   Don’t let the initial rush of the crowds deter you.  After 15 minutes, everyone falls in to place, and the lines just move… you may even find yourself chugging your sample to clear your cup for the next taste.

Good luck!  (if you want to look like a pro, forgo the pretzel necklace, or anything that hangs around your neck, for that matter)

~


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