A beer festival on a cool, fall Saturday. The air is invigorating, people are energetic, and the snow’s not here yet. Brewers bring out their fall harvests to keep us all warm and happy. Music, people, barley, malt, hops, and loads of other things come together in a hearty brew that hits just the spot to shake off summer blues and store up the year’s last remaining warmth to get us through winter.
There’s a craft to enjoying a beer festival, though. It’s not so simple as just showing up, guzzling brews, and heading home happy. Fests have pitfalls. Too many people neglect to plan for their big day out. Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure a happy, hoppy day.
This is the number one thing people forget to do when they get to a beer festival. You arrive, see endless interesting vendors, and quickly indulge in too much drinking. It’s easy to get carried away with the music and the crowds and the varieties of tasty craft beers. Plan ahead. Think. You’re going to be here all day and need to take it easy. Alternate your beers with water. Get some walking in. Take advantage if you notice food trucks to support local restaurants and enjoy a decent meal.
Pay attention to the ABVs of your drinks. You probably won’t have a good day after drinking eight 10% Imperial Stouts. Stick to, or at least start with, moderate-alcohol Pilsners and the like. They’re called sessionable for a reason.
Bring a Good Crew
Good beer festival buddies are not necessarily the same people as good bar drinking buddies. You’re in public, it’s a social occasion, and you will want to make the most of your day. Experienced drinkers are responsible drinkers. At the very least, you’ll need at least one of the following:
- The beer expert. You probably have at least one friend who homebrews, is active in online beer communities, and has used the word mouthfeel so many times it doesn’t even sound funny to him anymore. Bring that guy. He will happily point out new beers and make sure you try some interesting drinks.
- The responsible one. If you forget this person, you’ve made a classic big mistake. Festival newbies often invite the first people who come to mind when they think the word beer. Unfortunately for everyone, this is often a list of people who drink too much. You need a level headed friend to keep things under control. When you plan, always keep in mind one question: who’s going to get us home?
- The healthy one. There may be some crossover with the responsible one here. Your healthy friend probably knows how to get good food to ensure long-lasting energy. She’ll also keep you on your feet, walking off the booze and calories to allow room in your bloodstream for that next fine stout.
Have an Escape Plan
At the end of the day, you’ve got to get home. Don’t start planning your way home after you’ve had eight drinks. You could face some grim charges. If you don’t have a sober driver, call a cab, call Uber, or walk. Drinking and driving is deadly serious, and deadly stupid. Don’t do it. Drive sober or don’t drive. After all, this fun-filled day deserved a great ending.
Guest Writer – Landon Biehl
Landon Biehl resides in Wilmington, North Carolina. As an avid craft beer drinker, Landon enjoys attending various beer fests around the state, and exploring new local brews. Landon is also enjoys writing about topics that are unique and not explored by others.