Beer Knowledge

7 Tips for Fun and Survival at Beer Fests

Published May 27th, 2014

While traipsing through a beer festival isn’t exactly like spending a month holed up in some hostile jungle, arming yourself with a survival guide of sorts can help you make the most of your beer festivities, while ensuring you come out of each fest alive and ready for more.

Here’s your bonafide survival guide to make sure you make the most of each beer fest, and live to drink another day.

Pre-fest

The most successful soldiers in the field are the ones who come to the battle mentally and physically prepared. So how can you ensure you adequately employ the Boy Scouts motto (Always Be Prepared) at your next beer fest?

Survival tip #1 - Food is your friend. This isn’t some sardine-packed college frat party where your goal is to get absolutely blitzed so you can puke on your friend Smitty in between your turn at tossing the ping pong ball at Beirut. At a beer fest you’re in public, for pete’s sake! So, how can you avoid being that guy (or gal)? Stock your stomach up with plenty of food. Eating before you go to the festival … and during … will ensure that your beer stays exactly where you want it to be, and that your friend Smitty won’t have to do an emergency load of laundry at the end of the day. Besides, food will help keep you from making a fool of yourself, like the time you thought you were dancing around with a lampshade on your head, when in reality that lampshade was your neighbor’s arthritic dog.

Survival tip #2 - Make a game plan. Depending on the beer fest, you could be facing a buffet of beer like you’ve never seen before. Couple that with endless amounts of food, music, and other distractions, and your day might end before you ever got through half the festival. Unless you come with a game plan. Your game plan will include scoping out the map (most festivals let you know where each activity/vendor is), and deciding on what areas you:

  • Have to hit
  • Want to hit
  • Would like to hit
  • Would be totally okay missing out on

Breaking it down like this will make sure you see everything you want to see, rather than getting lost in the crowd, downing the same beer you can get at your local bar, and quickly forgetting why it is you came here in the first place. Also, decide on an official meeting place (think of it as a Lost & Found), for you and your friends. That way, if/when you get separated, you’ll be able to reunite again.

Survival tip #3 - Get home okay so you can go out again. The worst time to figure out how you’re getting home after a beer fest is when you’re ready to go home from your beer fest. That type of tiny detail should be hashed out well in advance. That means either dubbing someone as designated driver (and ensuring they uphold their lofty position), or figuring out what types of car services the festival offers. Uber and other car services often offer discounts to festival attendees, or you can get a cab. Or, if you’re feeling saucy, organize a limo to come pick you up at the end of the fest.

@ The Beer Fest

So, if you’re reading this, we’ll assume you’ve already made it through your pre-fest preparations. Congratulations! You’ve proven your worth, grit and determination, and are now up for the next challenge. The @ the beer fest challenge.

Survival tip #4 - Don’t be predictable and lame. That’s right. We’re calling you out. Beer fests are one of the best ways to taste beers you’ve never even heard of before. Heck, you’ll taste beers from towns, cities and countries you never heard of before. So why do you insist on chugging down the same brew you can get every single day? Do you think the beer’s going to taste that much different if you’re not parked on some bar stool eating week-old pretzels? We get it. You like familiarity. Many people do. But step out of your comfort zone. Beer’s like pizza. Beer’s like sex. If you’re having it, how bad can it be? As a helpful tip, try the new and hard-to-get beers first on your adventure (you’ll scope this out during your pre-plan duties). They often sell out fast, so you don’t want to waste precious minutes drinking a beer you can always drink, while someone else finishes up the last drop of sweet golden nectar.

Survival tip #5 - Water’s like food. Only better. During your pre-fest duties, we told you to stock your stomach up with food (and to continue that practice throughout your fest day). The same goes for water. Beer dries your body out (hangovers are your body’s way of telling you it’s really, really thirsty). Beer fests, while just about the greatest event known to man, can really wreak havoc on your body unless you drink plenty of water. One ounce of water per one ounce of beer is a good rule of thumb. Before you start complaining about math, think of it this way. Have a cup of beer, followed by water, followed by beer, followed by water. Voila, you just mastered math. The water will help stave off a day-after-hangover as well as an embarrassing display of public drunkenness.

Survival tip #6 - Remember your Lost & Found place. We discussed establishing an official Lost & Found meet up location for you and your friends, during your pre-plan stages. Before you set out to drink and wander at the fest, get a visual of that place, and remind each other that if (and yes, when), you all get separated, this is where you’ll meet up.

Survival tip #7 - Don’t be aloof. Beer fests aren’t snobbish affairs, but they also aren’t a place people go just to get plastered. Brewmasters spend their lives to make beer, and they’re excited to share it with the masses. In fact, most brewmasters will love to chit-chat with patrons about the process and how they came up with their styles and tastes. If your goal is to down as many beers as you can, as fast as you can, you’re missing out on a huge part of the beer fest culture. Learn about the beer, the beer makers, and take a moment to appreciate and take advantage of this opportunity. You can always sit back and enjoy a cold mass-produced domestic when you get home.

Your final tip: have fun and be safe

No one comes to a beer fest to have a bad time. That fact, alone, makes it pretty darn easy to enjoy yourself at one of these events. But abiding by these 7 tips to survival will ensure you’ll make the most of your beer fest experience, and will live to enjoy another day.

Have any additional tips? Please share them in the comments below!

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