With the 2016 AC Beer and Music Festival just 2 weeks away, I wanted to share some tips for enjoying beerfests…
- Designated Driver (DD)! I can’t stress this enough for a beerfest. You will be tasting lots of varieties of beer, and although the glasses may be small, it adds up pretty quickly. Unless you live close by and can walk/stagger home, bring along a trusted DD. Most beerfests offer a cheap ticket for DD’s. Show appreciation and pay for the DD’s ticket. They are doing you a favor and it shouldn’t cost them. If you don’t have a DD, Uber is another viable option.
- Get a babysitter! Unless the festival advertises family activities, leave the youngsters with Grandma and Grandpa. A beerfest is not the environment for children, nor can you enjoy yourself if you are trying to entertain the kids or heaven forbid, deal with a major meltdown. Many beerfests are stipulating a “No Children” rule when entering the venue.
- The More the Merrier! Talk your friends into coming along. It’s a lot of fun with a big group! It doesn’t mean you have to stick together the whole time, divide and conquer. Split up areas so the group can cover all the beer vendors and make recommendations on the best brews.
- Make it fun! For my favorite beerfests, I give my beer posse a goody bag containing pretzel necklaces, beer cap earrings (for the ladies), and cool beer mug sun glasses. Pretzel necklaces are easy to make, just string some pretzels on a ribbon to wear around your neck. This gives you something to snack on while making the rounds, and let’s you cleanse your palate between tastings. (I prefer to use the Herr’s Sourdough Mini Hard pretzels). I have my buddy Gonzo, make earrings out of bottlecaps from the featured vendors, and I buy beer mug sunglasses real cheap online at Windy City Novelties (box of 12 for $22). windy city Novelty beer sun glasses
- Skip the VIP tickets. Getting in a hour early is not necessarily a great perk, since odds are you will have a difficult time drinking the whole 4 hours during the normal festival session. Unless they offer great perks like VIP parking and meeting Bruce Springsteen in person, it’s not worth the added cost and time.
- Don’t overdo the night before! You want to be fresh and sober for the beerfest. That is the main goal, isn’t it? Last year at the St. Michael’s beerfest in MD, The Queen of Funk (see reviewer bios from the home page), over-indulged the night before and missed half the beerfest, and didn’t partake much during the time she was there.
- If this is an outside event during the summer, be sure to wear a hat, and bring a water bottle. Sipping the water will keep you hydrated (the beer won’t), plus it will cleanse your palate between tastings.
- Have a good breakfast/lunch before the beerfest begins. Don’t drink on an empty stomach, or you will not last long.
- Check the vendors, and be sure to try your favorite ones first. The vendors do run out, and you don’t want to lose out on your favorites. Also, once you find a new brew you really like, take a picture of the description with your smart phone, so you can remember it for future reference and tastings.
Pretzel enjoying the 2015 St. Michael’s Beerfest