What to Expect at a Beer Festival

Beer festival season is right around the corner! Sampling craft beers is a beloved pastime that stretches well across the four corners of the globe, and beer festivals have a culture all their own. Whether you’re a timid first-timer or a seasoned veteran, this list will help you learn how to navigate the typical beer fest with ease. Here are the basics of what to expect from your standard craft beer festival:

SO MANY Craft Beer Options

…Duh! It’s a beer fest! There will be so many options that you may be overwhelmed with choices. Check out the beer list ahead of time and make a plan to hit your favorite brewery’s booth, snag a taste of a few limited edition brews, and still have room to try new-to-you beers from the list that spark your interest. Alternatively, you may wander aimlessly through the maze of vendors and enjoy many happy accidents, try a little of this and a little of that, and discover new favorites along the way. Choose your own adventure!

Phenomenal Food Vendors

Great beer and delicious food are the two hallmarks of a spectacular beer festival. The food truck and vendor fare are often made up of classic beer companions, usually consisting of burgers, pizza, hotdogs, tacos, pretzels, BBQ, and more. However, a few surprises will await from honey spiced duck and braised lamb shanks to kale and snap pea salads. Eat well, and often! Make sure you’re not drinking on an empty stomach – split entrees with friends and try several different vendors to make the most of your festival experience.

Brewery Freebies

Are there any two words sweeter together than free stuff? Craft breweries often bring tons of branded beer merch to hand out at beer fests – string bags, koozies, sunglasses, coasters, keychains and the like are all up for grabs. Don’t weigh yourself down with one of everything – it’s okay to turn down things you don’t absolutely love or won’t use.

Additional Tips for a Great Beer Festival Experience:

Wear sun protection.

Nothing ruins a good vibe faster than a painful sunburn. Plan ahead for outdoor festivals and wear appropriate protective gear like a hat, a UV-rated top, and SPF to make sure you will enjoy the memories and can skip the aloe for the foreseeable future. Hashtag no regrets.

Stay hydrated!

Hydration is key to a successful event (and to avoiding a gnarly hangover the following day). In between every round of cheers, slam a glass (or two) of H2O. Drinking water also helps you pace yourself so you can keep the good times rollin’. Use the buddy system: have a friend remind you to drink water and vice versa.

Have a plan to get home (and a backup just in case).

Whether home for the night is a nearby hotel or your own cozy digs, make sure you can get there safely after a long day of drinking. Bring a designated driver, get a bus pass ready, or plan to take a cab or an Uber to leave the beer fest. Prepare a Plan A and B in the event that something unexpected happens: cabs are full, your DD accidentally overindulges, or you misjudge your limit and suddenly can’t drive home. Don’t get behind the wheel if you’re not sober enough to drive.

Familiarize yourself with festival policies before you go.

What is the tasting limit? Is there a limit? What Covid policies and procedures are they enforcing? Is water readily available or should you take a refillable bottle just in case? Do you need to have extra cash on hand for tipping or food vendors? These are all great questions to ask yourself to prepare for a festival and the answers can often be found on the festival’s website.

Now you’re an expert in the ways of the beer fest and ready to plan your experience! Check out our Beer Festivals and Events page for upcoming festivals in your area. Cheers!



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Robert Novak III
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