Beyond Comfortable Footwear – Tips for How to Enjoy a Craft Beer Festival
There is something very special about beer festivals that makes them different from other events – and in an effort to make sure you enjoy yourself, we’ve put together a few tips that will help you maximize your experience at the next festival you attend.
Come with an open mind
Because the apparatus used to make beer in different breweries is pretty much always the same, brewers have to go out of their way to stand out in the ever expanding craft beer market. Every once in a while they’ll try something truly out there – beard yeast, goat brain yeast, and yes, even dinosaur bone yeast, to create a beer – but for the most part, their explorations utilize more common food sources. Regardless, keep an open mind, try new beers, and respect the beers even if they aren’t quite your style. Who knows, you might end up finding a new favorite! For more information about how to enjoy beer, check out our beer guide at: http://calgarybeerfest.com/the-beer-guide/
Pair your beer samples with food samples
Every good beer festival will have a variety of different foods you can sample from. Take the time to seek out foods that will complement the different beers you are trying. The right food with the right beer will enhance the tastes of both. If you are interested in learning what types of beers pair best with what types of food, check out our food pairing guide at: http://calgarybeerfest.com/food-pairings/ Another good idea is to ingest your beer and food with equal parts water so you can enjoy the festival longer.
Know what makes the event special
Every beer festival has something special about it. Going to the Great British Beer Festival in London on the first day? Keep an eye out for the Cornish ‘band’ from Skinner’s Brewing who make quite the entrance drumming and singing their way in. Heading to Seattle Beer Week? Be prepared to choose from over 200 events during the 11 day celebration. There are also things like Brew Master Seminars, Cooking with Beer Seminars, and other unique features that make each festival great!
Come with a plan
What do you want to get out of the event? Do you want to find a new favorite beer, sample from a style you already enjoy, try only things new to your area? One general beer strategy is to go from light beer to dark beer – though that isn’t always possible at a festival where you are travelling from booth to booth. Still, you can help your tastings by putting a little effort into your beer choices. For instance, don’t start with a really hoppy beer or you won’t be able to taste anything but hops for the rest of the day.
Take your time to taste the beer
A beer festival isn’t supposed to be a race; consider it a beer journey. Really taste the beers you are sampling – and if you enjoy them, take a picture with your phone or text the name to a buddy so you can remember to pick some up after the event and support the brewery that has helped make the festival possible by attending.
Expect to make friends
There is something special about the atmosphere and sense of community at a festival – and that has a lot to do with the type of people who attend. Most beer festivalians are good, relaxed people who are there to have a good time. Beer festivals inevitably have lines – but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Chat someone up while you are in line for the washroom, or start talking to the guy beside you in line while you wait for a sample – it can turn a wait into yet one more fun element.
Plan your ride home
Of course, the most important thing you can do in your beer festival planning is make sure you get home safe. Most festivals have websites that can direct you to transit, cab companies, etc. Make a plan to get home before you even step foot out of your house.
Bill Robinson is one of the creators of Alberta Beer Festivals – and is also an avid attender of beer festivals worldwide. For more information about their festivals, go to: www.albertabeerfestivals.com