At Tapped Life, we go to over 20 beer festivals a year and we have most definitely learned a couple things along ye ole beer trail. Here are some things we have learned…often the hard way. You know the hard way…spending a Saturday drinking local craft brews, laughing and selling t-shirts to all my favorite dedicated drinkers. 67 beer festivals and counting | brew fest tips from 3 years in the flow.
• Be crafty but be prepared.
Let me just say this, it’s like the biblical plagues out there…sometimes. Now most often, Mother Nature is in full support of our crafty endeavors but sometimes she gets a bit bitchy (I wonder if she’s deprived of a good beer).
Snow in the desert. Floods in Phoenix, swarms in Albuquerque, blistering sun in Portland, we’ve seen it all…and you would think we would know to be prepared. But no. Just this past weekend we were at the Pajarito Ullr Fest in New Mexico (right…the dry desert) and it effing HAILED! And rained. And had “hurricane” force winds. And I was in a short sleeve t-shirt…with no back up. Again. Jackass.
• Eat early.
The best beer shows have lots of food offerings usually local food trucks, restaurants and food carts (shout out to Joe S Sausage). Some have food offered by the festival venue, which is generally pretty good.
But no matter how this festival producer is providing you nourishment to accompany your beer samples, for the love of the craft brewed gods, get your food early…preferably in the first hour. There are two main reasons for this, in Tapped Life’s humble opinion…first, the goddamn lines get long quick (and if you’re gonna wait it line, it better be to sample that fruity sour beer from that new brewery in Eugene.). And secondly, the best food options run out fast when its your responsibility to absorb multiple crafty beers samples.
• Drink some damn water!
Ok, free water stations may seem obvious but it is sometimes overlooked by newer festivals so Tapped Life would always suggest all beer show attendees bring a disposable water bottle (with water, there will be plenty of beer) to the show.
We know you are there for the beer…we get it. And we want you to get as many samples as safely possible, which is exactly why we strongly suggest while at the festival make sure to also drink that water and stay hydrated. We have too often seen a festivalgoer taken down by the heat, the sun or (once in a while) too much great beer. Drink some water, eat some festival food (early) and pace yourself for a good time.
• Wear your favorite t-shirt.
We love funny creative t-shirts (designed by us or not) and we love fun creative beers brewed by pushing the limits and enjoying your craft. So please show your support, wear it proud. Rock that beer shirt. We’re a well-crafted, handsome bunch.Whether its brewery merchandise, last year’s festival t-shirt or one of the amazing designs displayed at the Tapped Life / Craft Brewed Clothing tent, we have noticed one thing, with great beer comes great t-shirts. We see the best (beer and non-beer) t-shirts at brew fests and it always important to let your fellow craft beer drinker know you approve…hey bro, nice shirt.
• Local beer is creative beer – for craft’s sake, try it.
Here is the most important thing to remember when you are at a craft beer festival, a brew fest, a tasting, a pairing, or a beer show (I know, they’re all pretty much the same thing). This is your opportunity to try something new, something different, some experimental. It’s important we support the creativity in the brewing industry.
Be courageous; try that spicy beer, that fruity one, that crazy sounding new sour…now is your craft brewed opportunity. A beer is like a well-crafted meal…you may (or may not) be able to make it again but you can never have that first taste again.
You can always have your safety beer; Spread your wings…please taste something new.
And to our brewing friends (home & pro), keep up the good work!
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