1. It’s a Marathon NOT a Sprint
The number of great beers available at a beer festival is one of the top reasons you bought a ticket to the festival. That does not mean you have to drink all of those beers, as soon as you get into the event space. It doesn’t even mean you have to drink all of the beers during the event. Pace yourself.
2. Take notes
Remembering all the beer you consumed during a beer festival is nearly impossible without some form of notes. Discovering your new favorite IPA, but not being able to recall the brewery or the name of the beer can be a real downer. Use your smartphone to take pictures, make notes, or record voice memos to help you remember the beers that impress you. You can log and rate beers with apps like UnTappd, RateBeer, and BeerAdvocate, but those apps don’t always help you remember how the beer made you feel.
Use the lines to your advantage. Make a habit of writing notes while the beer you are drinking is still fresh in your glass and in your mind – while you wait for the next beer.
3. Eat and drink often
Bring food with you – Pretzel Necklaces are a great (hands-free) snack that can help absorb some of the alcohol that you are consuming. A water bottle (filled with water) may be your best friend during a four-hours long drinking session. Hydration is one way to help your body, as it works to process all the beer. It may not feel like it, but it really is hard work. Your body will thank you later for the consideration.
4. You don’t have to finish every beer
A festival is not an open bar. It’s an opportunity for you to sample many beers and to become familiar with new breweries, styles, and brands. If you aren’t loving what’s in your glass – dump it. Seriously. It’s not going to offend the brewer or hurt anyone’s feelings. It just means that you are saving room for the opportunity to try another beer.
5. Know where the bathrooms are BEFORE you need them
You are going to need a bathroom. And, in some instances, you are going to need a bathroom ASAP. Know where the bathrooms are, how to get to them, if there are any things that are going to block you from getting to them, and an estimate of how long it will take you to get to them. Do all of this early in the festival, so there are no surprises later.
6. Talk to the brewers
Chances are, someone from the brewery is at the festival pouring their beer. Chances are, they know how it was made. And chances are, they are really proud of it (or else they wouldn’t have brought it to the festival). Brewers are generally social people who enjoy talking about beer. So, take the opportunity to ask what hops they used? Or why they decided not to use a different hop? Or any other question that allows you to geek out on the beer.
7. Schedule a break
Even the most highly trained athletes struggle to maintain optimum output for four hours. You are not a varsity beer drinker, nor will you get a medal for your efforts at the beer fest. Take a break. Sit down and enjoy some time to yourself. Couple this tip with tips #2 and #3.
8. Be cool
You are cool. You’re at a beer festival. But, don’t forget to display your coolness. Say “Please,” and “Thank you.” Realize that everyone’s going to be waiting in lines, and that’s part of it – so make the most of being in lines. Be courteous to the people around you and expect them to be courteous to you. But if people around you aren’t courteous – keep your cool.
9. Bring a growler
This doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a shot. At the end of a festival brewers are often eager to empty their keg, so it can be cleaned when they get back from the festival. One way to achieve that is to get rid of any left-over product. If you have a vessel, that means you may get lucky.
10. Ask for business cards
Brewery representatives come to brewing festivals to meet customers. If you are loving a beer or a brewery – ask for a business card. It will have contact information, the brewery’s address, website, and social media accounts so you can become an informed consumer.
Come find Tonewood at Beer Festivals!
March 4th @ The Local
March 31st - April 1st @ AC Beer Fest