Tis’ the season for brew—plentiful amounts of the frothy ambrosia overflowing! Beer fest season is in full swing, with the American Craft Beer Fest occurring this past Saturday, the Spring Craft Beer Fest happening in the wilds of Long Island on the 10th, as well as a slew of other tastings occurring throughout the month. Perhaps it’s the impending tempest of emerald debauchery known as “St.Patty’s Day” drawing brewers like moths to the flame. Whatever the case may be, celebration is in order!
Regardless of your predisposition towards beer—from craft brew connoisseur, to natty light enthusiast—this is the perfect opportunity to expand your palette. Beer fests provide the ideal opportunity to engage in an alcohol-based curriculum founded solely on consumption! Naturally, you’ll have your stuffy brewologists in attendance deeming anything packaged in a “12 pack” as commercial drivel, yet don’t let the elitists dampen your Dionysian pursuits.
This is for the fest rookies: those uninitiated in the fine art of surviving a beer fest with wits and decency in tact. Here are 5 tips to ensuring a memorable, and flavorful beer-consuming experience!
Most festivals tout a smorgasbord of breweries—both commercial giants, as well as their “micro” counterparts—thereby making research a necessary evil. Most fests have websites depicting the day’s lineup, so be adventurous: investigate and explore any breweries that may catch your eye. Constructing a loose itinerary goes a long way in ensuring an optimal fest experience, though beware: entry through those pearly, beer-doused gates typically incites a frenzy to imbibe any and all fare—eyes on the prize!
4) Patience is Not a Virtue
Tying in nicely with the earlier point of “recon," the cruel reality behind the façade of seemingly “infinite” beer is that there is limited stock—particularly in the case of the smaller, out-of-state breweries. While the standard for any fest is to divide its liquid curriculum into two sessions (day & evening), the supply is not limitless. Unfortunately, patience in this instance will likely secure you a ticket on the sidelines, therefore, prioritize and sample copiously, for the kegs & casks are constantly depleting!
Embarking on any 3-4 hour concentrated drinking endeavor is an experience fraught with peril—particularly of the projectile vomit variety. Don’t be that person covered in a medley of recently regurgitated brew—there is a bevy of food options at these fests! Whether in the vein of German-themed bratwurst, or the more traditional fare of burgers and dogs, get the goods in your system to ensure sloppiness does not ensue.
Beer fests are typically the pinnacle of marketing events for breweries—especially micro-breweries not capable of nation-wide advertising campaigns. Not only should you seize the opportunity to sample the potential “next big thing," but be sure to also snag some righteous beer-themed memorabilia (stickers, shirts, coasters, coupons). Goody bags: brew edition!
1) Beware the “Green Mile”
The dying embers of any beer fest present a unique opportunity for those willing to brave the tempestuous waters of “binge drinking." The final wrap-up of any fest—specifically the closing 5 minutes—offers a golden opportunity to sample any and all remaining fare with virtually no wait! With the masses having departed for greener, less alcohol-drenched pastures, those select few stragglers can engorge to their heart’s content—if only for a few minutes. Beware though, if you intend on counting yourself within this select company, the risk of succumbing to the green mile (unfathomable levels of intoxication) is infinitely higher. Better to temper the allure of rapid ossification, in favor of a semi-coherent, albeit ultimately more enjoyable fest experience.