Whether you’ve been to plenty of beer fests, or are going to one for the first time, it never hurts to brush up on some ways to make the most of your time. We’ve put together a list of ten ways to make the most of your next craft beer fest. We can’t wait to see you at a fest soon!
Have a Plan - If you can ahead of time, or right when you get to the fest, look over the list of breweries attending. Make a list of the top breweries you’d like to visit, comparing notes with other people you’re attending with. It’s best for your palette to go lighter to heavier with beers. But if there is a particular heavy beer you want that might not last, head there first.
Rinse Out Your Glass - This might sound pretentious, but if you really want to taste the flavors of each pour, you want to be sure of what’s in your glass. Ask the brewery to rinse out your glass before their pour, or if you have water easily accessible, use that to rinse in between each beer.
Watch the Weather - No one wants a sunburn or wet clothes, even if you’re having a great time. Check out the weather the day of the beer festival and grab whatever sunnies, sunscreen or rain gear you might need. Don’t let the weather get in the way of you enjoying all the amazing beers you paid for!
Be in the Moment, Not on Your Phone - There is a time and place for checking in on apps, and posting videos or pictures of the great time you’re having. But one of the best things about something like a beer fest is just being in the moment. Enjoy the friends you came with. Have an interesting conversation with your favorite brewery. Take notes on styles, flavors and ingredients you dig in the beers you’re trying. Yolo!
Pace Yourself - Beer festivals are not a race. They are a great time to talk with your favorite brewers and to try lots of different styles you may not be familiar with. Start out with small pours of each beer on your list. You can always go back for more if you like it.
Hydration + Sustenance - It’s easy to forget to drink water while you’re walking around a fest. Either bring water with you, or make use of the hydration stations throughout. Aim to fill up your tasting glass with water in between each beer, especially if you’re drinking higher gravity beers. Also, either plan to eat a solid meal right before, or make use of the food trucks or vendors at the fest. Good beer always tastes better with a grilled cheese or sushi burrito, right?
Don’t Drive - It’s always better to play it safe. If you don’t have a designated driver in your group, plan to use public transportation or a ride service like Uber, Lyft or a taxi.
Spring for the VIP Pass - Most fests sell VIP tickets that allow you entrance an hour before the general admission. This extra hour is a more low key way to find your favorite breweries and have conversations with them. It will also allow you to try more styles, especially if some of your favorites run out earlier in a fest. Often you will have access to a special VIP tent or section, with rare beers you can brag about trying later.
Try New Styles - Although this goes without saying, it still deserves a mention. Beer fests are the ideal place to try styles you are not familiar with and ask questions about them from an expert. Pick a style or two that you’d like to focus on, find those at the fest, and compare what you like about different beers within that style. It’s a great way to hone your palette and find new beers or styles that you enjoy.
Ask Good Questions - It’s tempting to spout off things to make yourself seem like an expert at a beer tent or table. But this is a great time to focus on asking questions to the brewers serving you. It will make you a more informed beer drinker and you just might learn something!