I’ve been going to beer events and festivals ever since I became of drinking age. It’s one thing my dad and I really enjoy doing together—nothing like bonding over new brews with hundreds of people. Ha! I’ve learned a few things over the years (and suffered quite a few hangovers) and wanted to share my top 5 essential items for making your beer fest experience a success along with a list of tips for ensuring you get the most out of the event.
1. Tote Bag
I never head to a beer festival without a tote bag. Almost always, the different breweries end up having freebies up for grabs and their own apparel for sale. I for one don’t want to miss out because I have nowhere to put it all! Some of the loot I’ve gotten over the years includes koozies (of course), stickers, a frisbee, beach ball, sunglasses, lip balm, shot glass, hat, keychains, and bottle openers. My favorite bag to use is this Hemp Market Tote that’s hand-stamped with black hops flowers.
2. Hangover Prevention
Maybe it’s because I’m in my 30s now, but I definitely can’t drink like I used to without suffering big time the next day. I recently searched Amazon for hangover supplements and found Drinkwel. It’s basically a multivitamin with ingredients specifically formulated to replenish nutrients, support liver function, and help process alcohol induced toxins. I tried it for my last beer fest event and I must say, it worked! I took the 3 capsules with water and food before I went, then the other 3 capsules with water afterwards. The next day I was barely phased. I would definitely recommend trying it.
3. Water Bottle
I swear by my Swell Water Bottle to keep me hydrated in between all the beer guzzling. Especially if it’s a summer event, having icy chilled water will save you!
4. Tasting Notebook
If you want to take your beer tasting seriously, bring along a little notebook or even just use your phone notes to document your favorites from the day. You’ll be trying all kinds of beer from different breweries—it’s highly unlikely you’ll remember the names of everything. This 33 Bottles of Beer Tasting Notebook is super cool with flavor wheel diagrams and space for you to rate each one.
5. Brewery Apparel
There’s no better time to wear your favorite brew gear than at a beer festival. Support your local brewery and wear a logo tee or hat. It’s a great conversation starter and if the brewery you’re rocking is at the event, you’re probably likely to get a larger pour which definitely doesn’t hurt!
Tips for Making the Most Out of a Beer Festival
- Learn the event layout in advance. Many times the event coordinators will release a map before the day. This is a great way to plan the top spots you want to hit up first.
- Eat a good, filling meal beforehand. I can’t stress this one enough. Don’t drink for hours on an empty stomach! I love having a big brunch or get pizza on the way.
- Long lines usually mean good beer, but be picky. Yes, sometimes it’s worth waiting in a 15 minute line to get a taste of some amazing brew. But don’t get stuck in long lines all day or you’ll miss out.
- Go with people who LOVE beer. You’ll have a much better time going with fellow beer enthusiasts who will geek out over them with you than with a non-beer drinker.
- Do chat up the brewery reps. It’s their passion and you can sometimes learn inside info about upcoming new releases or events.
- Don’t drink it if you don’t like it it! It’s beer tasting for a reason. There’s no shame in taking a sip and realizing it’s not for you. Just don’t go dumping it in right front of that brewer’s booth.
- Don’t wear a pretzel necklace unless you want to be THAT guy. Yes, I said it. A pretzel necklace is a bit of a novelty and unless you’re going for a cheesy vibe, I’d pass on it.
- Arrange for a designated driver or other ride home. After a few hours of beer drinking, there’s no way you should be driving. Drink and enjoy the day without worry!