Ah, the beer festival. Where else can you have your pick of more beers than you can try in a single day while not breaking the bank. Just like any other outing that lasts a few hours, a beer festival should not be entered into without some forethought and preparation not only for how to attack the festival itself, but how to safely have fun and get home in one piece.
Beer festival tickets aren’t typically cheap and while yes, they are often a great value when compared to buying the beers you’ll try individually, you don’t want to waste your ticket price by not being prepared to get the most out of your day. Along with getting the most bang for your buck, some basic preparation can keep you hangover-free the next day and make sure you get home safe and legally. Follow the tips below and have your best beer fest ever.
Make sure to get a good night’s sleep the night before a beer festival. You’re going to be drinking a lot and be on your feet for a few hours, so you want to be on top of your game to get the most out of your ticket. Being tired before you start drinking is a sure-fire way to burn out early and overall just not have a good time.
By far one of the most important aspects to a great day of drinking is staying hydrated. You should make sure you’ve had your fill of water/Gatorade before you even get to the festival. Starting the day fully hydrated will give you a great place to start from and hold you over for your first round of samples.
Contrary to popular belief and what your friends say, food does not “soak” up alcohol. What food does do however is get your metabolism working, which helps in the processing of alcohol from your system. This slows the flow of alcohol directly into your blood stream and helps you stay functioning while you’re trying all those beers.
Don’t stuff yourself beforehand but make sure to eat a solid meal about an hour before you start drinking. It doesn’t hurt to toss a few granola bars/cookies/protein bars in your bag or pocket before you leave too, in case there isn’t any food at the festival or better yet, for your ride home.
You can always go the route of the pretzel necklace too, and wear your snacks for easy access.
4. Print Your Tickets
Today the majority of beer festivals sell their tickets online, making ticketing a possible mess in the process. Many festivals will say they can scan your ticket from your smart phone, but this is laced with its own issues. First, what if you lose or break your phone on the way to the festival, or what if their scanner isn’t liking your screen protector?
Or worse yet, what if you delete the tickets by mistake? The solution to all these is to keep your tickets on your phone as well as bring along a print out of the tickets themselves. This way, you have a backup in case something goes wrong.
5. Check Out the Beer List
Some beer fests have started publishing their beer lists on their websites ahead of the fest itself. This is a great way to know what will be available and what you definitely need to try first. Hard-to-get beers will more than likely have a line, and will definitely be the first kegs to kick, so knowing about them ahead of time will give you the best chance to try them before they’re gone.
6. Organize Your Friends
Find out which of your friends are going to the fest, and make plans to meet up either outside the venue or inside once everyone gets through the doors. Beer festivals are more fun with friends, so plan ahead and if need be, set up a group text or Facebook group for it and stay in touch.
This is a hard one to remember, but the only way to have fun consistently at a beer festival is to practice moderation. It’s all too easy to get ahead of yourself with drinking since each beer is only 2-5 ounces a piece. Sure, that doesn’t seem like much until you realize that roughly every 3 or 4 samples is basically a full beer.
Take it slow and easy and make sure to actually enjoy the beers you’re drinking instead of just slugging them back in preparation for the next booth.
8. Getting Home
This tip is critical not only for your safety but for that of others on the road, too. If you’ve spent a few hours trying beers and having a great time the chances are you’re well over the legal limit to drive yourself home. Plan ahead and assume you won’t be fit to drive and find a safe way home before you even get to the fest.
Taxis, Uber, or Lyft are great choices for getting yourself to and from a beer festival, but you shouldn’t forget public transportation either. Depending on where you live catching a bus or subway home might be a great way to not have to drive.
Many beer festivals also offer Designated Driver (DD) tickets at a reduced rate. These typically include food and non alcoholic drinks to keep your sober friend occupied while you tie one on.
Wait, didn’t we already mention this one? Well, you need to plan for hydration while you’re at the festival, too. It’s too easy to put back beer samples for a few hours and not have a single bit of water to balance it out. You might not mind it now, but your head will definitely mind it later.
A great way to stay hydrated and have a clean glass for each new beer is to rinse your glass with the water that’s usually provided at a festival but instead of pouring the rinse out, drink it. This way, you’ll drink equal parts beer and water at the fest, helping you be hangover-free the next day.
10. Have Fun
This should go without saying, but it’s all too easy to get into the planning aspects of attending a beer fest and overlook the fact that it should be fun. Enjoy yourself, don’t get mad when there’s a line for a certain beer, and be nice to the people serving you that beer. They’re working so you can have a good time, they deserve a few high-fives and all-around good treatment.
By following these tips you can make sure you have the most fun possible while staying safe and keeping the dreaded next day hangover at bay. Now get out there and drink like a champion today.