Tips For Attending Beer Festivals
I was recently asked to work a local beer festival here in Buffalo. Of course I said yes! Who in their right mind would turn down a free ticket to an event with beer and food? Not this guy. The event was Thawfest and featured live music, local breweries, distilleries, vineyards and a plethora of food. I know events like this have been around for years but, as of late, they seem to be popping up everywhere, and people absolutely love them. I can recall, a few times last year, there were multiple festivals in one weekend. But, at the same time, I’m shocked by how many people I run into that say this is their first time attending one.
What is a Beer Festival?
For those of you who have been to a billion of them like me, you know how much fun they are. But, for all the people who are reading this that have yet to experience one, I’ll give you the gist of it. Most of the time they are advertised at your local craft beer stores, directly at the participating breweries, and at any local home brew stores. Another great place to find out about them in whatever area of the country you live in is online at America On Tap. Their site is dedicated to telling you where and when festivals are happening throughout the country.
So, the event will have a time that the doors open and a time the last beers can be poured. Oddly most show up right when it starts, or even a little bit before. Weird, I know? Most festivals provide you with an allotted amount of sample tickets and a tasting glass upon entering. (Don’t worry, nobody ever takes the tickets.) Then the fun begins. While live music is playing in the background, you literally walk around for 3 to 4 hours filling your body with alcohol and food. Trust me, it’s as magical as it sounds. Not only do you get to sample an array of things, you also get a chance to chat with reps from the companies about the products that you’re sampling, and what to expect from them in the future.
A few pieces of advice for you beer festival rookies out there. First thing you want is a designated driver. This goes without saying! Second thing you wanna do is wear light clothing. All that alcohol and food can bring on a serious case of the beer and meat sweats.
Next thing you want is a plan of attack. The festivals get crowded and the lines get long. Have your game plan mapped out ahead of time so you can hit all the places you really want to try before inebriation sets in. And one thing you cannot forget to do is build yourself a fancy pretzel necklace before you go. This is key! Gotta cleanse that palate between beers! Just get some string and mini pretzels and you’re all set!
So next time you’re out beer shopping or picking up the ingredients for your next home brew, keep an eye out for any up and coming beer festivals in your area. Or if you’re too lazy to get off the couch, like I am most of the time, check out the America On Tap website and make sure you don’t miss out on the fun. Cheers!