In four and half days I will be at my personal Daytona Super World Series Cup of beer festivals. I speak of Brewvival. I was at the inaugural festival last year, and it was the most exceptional collection of rare beer that I’ve had the pleasure of sampling.
Needless to say, I’m excited about this Saturday. This year should be even better. The weather forecast looks good and the beer list already has me buzzed. It’s going to be a fantastic day.
Aside from all the rare treats that I’ll get to sample, one of the most exciting aspects of going to this year’s festival is that one of my longtime friends, The Beave, and his wife Meredith will be coming with us. This is their first-ever beer festival. I remember my first beer festival… barely…
What a first-time. This is the beer equivalent to loosing your virginity to Brooklyn Decker. I’m not sure any other festivals will ever measure up for them.
So, it got me thinking, what advice would I give first time beer festival goers? There are four key things to keep in mind in preparing to attend a festival:
1. Hydration is key, bring a hydration pack if you have one
Brewvival is a six-hour affair. These are big beers. You will get hammered much faster than you think, especially as you get caught up in the festivities. You need to make sure you’re paced and hydrated enough to make it all six hours. Don’t be that guy passed out face-down in a field.
Many of the smaller, outdoor festivals will allow you to bring in your own water bottles or hydration packs. Having plenty of water easily accessible is crucial, especially if there aren’t a lot of water stations around the festival area.
I always recommend drinking a swallow or two of water between samples. Not only does it help keep you hydrated, but it cleanses the palate, getting you ready for your next beer. Obviously, check the festival’s website or FAQ and see if there are any restrictions about what you’re allowed to bring in.
2. Pretzel necklaces are the crown jewels of beer festivals
We all know what happens when you drink beer on an empty stomach. Well, imagine drinking for six hours on an empty stomach. Bad things.
Since the dawn of agriculture and domesticated grains, man has known of the alcohol-absorbing power of bread. I don’t want to be the asshole carrying around a loaf of bread at a beer festival. Instead, wear a band of pretzels around your neck! It’s the coolest and will supply you with a steady stream of spongy carbs to keep you going all afternoon.
3. Know the lay of the land
Do a little homework before the festival. If it’s posted, check out the beer list, or at least the list of breweries that will be there. Mark the beers you want to be certain you try. Often, the rare or one-time beers will be in limited supply. You want to hit those first so you don’t miss out.
Other things to remember:
- Determine if food is provided or available for purchase. Pretzels only go so far. Bring some cash for a substantial meal or snack if food is not complimentary.
- If the festival is outside, wear sunscreen. Hungover and sunburned is not a badge of honor, it’s dumb.
- Wear an abnormal hat. It will make your day more fun.
4. Arrange transportation before the festival
Trust me, you’re going to be more hammered than you think. Even with small, four-ounce samples, if you try 25 beers, which is not too difficult in six hours, that’s the equivalent of eight beers. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot for me.
It’s best to have your transportation arranged before the festival, when you are at least somewhat coherent. Do not trust yourself post-festival. Coherence will be a scarce commodity. Make sure you make it back to tell your friends about all the crazy stuff you did at the festival.