🔸Tip #1 – You Belong Here
It doesn’t matter if this is your first beer fest; you belong here just as much as the annoying beer geek next to you in line who insists on talking about every single beer he has ever tried, and how he knows more about any beer fest in the country because he’s been to them all.
🔸Tip #2 – Leave the F.O.M.O. at the Door
FOMO – fear of missing out – You will not get to sample all of the beers; you will actually not want to sample all of the beers. Even if it’s a smaller brewtest, there are just some beers that you will not like, and you do not need to like them at that moment. Yes, as you become more of a craft beer drinker, your palate may change, but at that moment, it’s ok to give yourself permission to say no.
🔸Tip #3 – Try New Things
On the other hand, don’t assume you will hate all IPA’s, for example. Just because you didn’t like the first one you tried two weeks ago, you might like the second one you try today or the tenth one you try six months from now. There are so many types of IPA’s from hazy to West Coast to milkshake to crazy bitter to citrusy, to you name it. Same goes for Saisons, Lagers, Stouts, Porters etc etc...
🔸Tip #4 – It’s OK to Dump Beer
Ok, yes, blasphemy! In our minds, we never waste a craft beer. You drink it! All! Remember, your grandma telling you that you have to clear your plate? There are starving children in Africa. While that is a true statement, there are starving people all over the world, you not clearing your plate is not going to solve that problem.
Same with craft beer, you not finishing one is not going to cause the world to end. Give yourself permission to dump a sample if you do not like the taste. This is, of course, after you have offered it to your friends. We share craft beer!
🔸Tip #5 – Wander First, Linger Later
Whether you are a first-timer or a 50th-timer beer test visitor, it helps to have a plan, even a very loose one. You could plan to only try peanut butter beers (I wouldn’t do that, though. You’ll miss out on the jelly beers.), or compare Milkshake IPA’s, or only visit the booths with no lines, or plan ahead and visit your favorite, and then just go with the flow.
🔸Tip #6 – Plan Ahead
And speaking of plans, remember the most important one. How are you getting home? Plan ahead for this one.
🔸Tip #7 – Arrive On Time or Early
Speaking of planning, you should also plan on arriving on time. Beer fests aka waiting-in-line-fests, are much more enjoyable if you get there early to wait in line, reducing stress of FOMO.
🔸Tip #8 – Food & Water
Most beerfests will have some type of food. You either need to eat before you make your grand entrance into the fest, or make time to eat while you’re there. In our case we will be serving burgers & hotdogs!
Drink water! Even more important than eating, drink water. Stay hydrated. Not only could it lessen your headache later, but ironically, it’ll allow you to taste more of those weird, fruited, wild fermented beverages that you really want to like, but just can’t quite adjust your palate to yet. You mine as well make sure you know where the toilets are. All that beer and water…
🔸Tip #9 – Talk to the Brewers
When heading up to the table to try that wild fermented beverage, don’t just stick out your glass, get your sample, then walk away. If you do that, you’ve missed out on one of the coolest things about beerfests, talking to the brewers.
Some of the servers are actually the brewers, and brewers love to talk about their beer. So, when you ask for a sample, ask about the hops and the yeast used when creating it. Ask them how they decided upon the recipe and the name. Ask them about their favorite beer. Ask them anything! Beer is about passions and connections, and starting a conversation with a brewer is an enlightening topic. Just open your mouth and say hi!
🔸Tip #10 – Enjoy the Event
Now that you have geeked out with a few brewers and your head is about to explode with all this new information about IPA’s or whatever the latest trend is at the time, take a step back, scan the room, take in the moment. Beer fests can be both exhilarating and exhausting. To combat the exhaustion of the excitement, find a spot, sit down, relax, and enjoy the beer as well as the music played!
* Remember, always drink responsibly & respect beer 🍻