TTT: 10 tips for surviving a beer fest

October 7, 2008 at 3:40 pm 1 comment

As a recent beer fest survivor, this edition of Travel Tip Tuesday is all about tips for surviving one.

  1. First and foremost, plan your method for getting home.  Get a designated driver who won’t flake out, make sure you have taxi fare, whatever.  No matter how careful you are, the point of a beer fest is to drink alcoholic beverages – you’re going to go a little wacky.  Your first priority should be to make sure that you’re not a danger to anyone else because of your experience.
  2. Stay hydrated.  Drink a lot of water before, during, and after the fest.  Any kind of alcohol will dehydrate you.  The more water you drink, the less likely you are to feel the effects of the dehydration.  If you ignore this tip, you may end up with a terrible headache or possibly even a hangover.  Who wants that?  No one!  So take the advice.
  3. Keep your belly fairly full.  Eat before, during, and after the fest.  You’ll be able to drink more beer in a more responsible and enjoyable manner if you do this.  Check out the festival’s program in advance, and get excited about the food vendors there.  Visit them.  If you don’t want to take the time to check out the food vendors, take something with you – crackers, cookies, or the infamous pretzle necklace.
  4. Know your limits.  Realize in advance that you can only appreciate so much beer.  Pay attention to how you feel and take the time to slow down, take a break, or cut yourself off.  Don’t be afraid to dump out beer that you’re tired of or don’t particularly care for.  You can even share samples with your friends to get a broader sampling and cut down on total consumption.  Beer is awesome, but it’s not worth embarrassment or pain! 
  5. Talk about the beer.  Discuss the flavors with your friends, and don’t be shy about talking to the people there representing the breweries.  You may learn something about beer, your friends, other people, and yourself.
  6. Go and leave early.  The beer supply is somewhat limited, and the most exciting/best beers may run out.  Also, the later it runs, the more likely people will be spilling and spewing.  Ick.
  7. Skip the common beers or save them for last.  If you’re already familiar with the beers, don’t waste the calories (and alcohol limit) on them even if you know you like them.  For example, I adore Big Boss’s Bad Penny, but I didn’t head straight to their booth at the World Beer Fest on Saturday.
  8. Be patient.  There is a reason why beer fest tickets often sell out – they’re popular.  Accordingly, don’t expect to be the only people there.  There will be long lines, and it’s more likely than not that someone will spill beer on you.  Don’t get mad – just take a breath and enjoy the beer once you get it.
  9. Take paper and a writing implement.  Picture this: You just sampled 10 beers.  Your 11th makes you squeal with joy that it’s so good.  It’s the beer you’ve always dreamed of!  You keep on drinking, and, the next morning, all you can remember is that you found an awesome beer but have no idea what it was or why you liked it so much.  What a nightmare!  Don’t let that happen to you.  At a minimum, get the program and write notes in it.
  10. Go hands free.  As important as it is to be able to take notes and pictures at the fest and have your cell phone and wallet on you, you are going to want both hands free to carry beer and snacks.  Wear something with tons of pockets or wear a small backpack.  Ladies, you don’t want to carry a handbag.  Trust me.  Oh, and don’t forget to stash sunscreen in that pack too.

I hope these tips help you to stay safe and fully enjoy your next beer fest.  If you have any additional tips, please feel free to share in the comments!

Bonus for North Carolinians: The World Beer Fest takes place in Raleigh in the spring and Durham in the fall.  You can also check out Hickory Hops (spring, Hickory), the Brewgrass Festival (fall, Asheville), Lighthouse Beer Festival (fall, Wrightsville Beach), Pig Stein (fall, Kitty Hawk), Summertime Brews Festival (summer, Greensboro), and Charlotte Oktoberfest (fall, Charlotte).


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Chris  |  October 8, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Great suggestions, just in time for GABF! I would add two more from my list of 8 tips for surviving a beer fest:
    1. If you don’t like the beer, pour it out. Life is too short to spend your time drinking beer you don’t like. (That’s a quoate from Charlie Papzian)
    2. (This goes along with your #7) Find out ahead of time what breweries will be there and visit the ones you’re most excited about first.


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