Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Your Beerfest Strategy?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by 19etz55, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. 19etz55

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Posts:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    2,404
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Do you have a plan or strategy when you go to a beerfest? I kind of like to go to the breweries I know and like 1st. I check my tent map (if there is one) and hit them first thing. Chances are you'll find many that have brews which you will like. Hopefully one or more that you haven't tried yet but turn out to your liking. Maybe 1/2 way through take a break and have something to eat.Then I like to explore. I'll go around to breweries I haven't tried or ones that I have but have something different that looks interesting. It's fun to try new stuff. I then like to finish the fest off with the winners (my choices) of the day and enjoy them for another round! How about you?!!!

    P.S. If you just go to drink a lot that's fine too. Like to hear your comments also!
     
  2. willbm3

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    Posts:
    1,659
    Likes Received:
    2,150
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I don't really have a plan, just sort of wander. Line length is a big factor to me as some breweries always have massive lines (DFH, Ommegang) and I've had most of their beers before. I like to go for newbies, but I really just try to sample as much as possible. Towards the end I like to re-sample anything that stood out
     
    BetterBeerPlz likes this.
  3. socon67

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Posts:
    774
    Likes Received:
    602
    Location:
    New York
    Above all I have fun. If I know what breweries and beer is being poured I may try to hit a couple I really want to try first so I don't miss out. After that I take my time, have water and food to balance out the beer, and look to find styles I'd like, and things I haven't tried.
     
  4. CityofBals

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2012
    Posts:
    464
    Likes Received:
    974
    Location:
    Illinois
    If I want to drink something that I know about before hand, I'll be able to stay focused and complete that goal first. Once I've tried what I wanted, I just wander.
     
  5. Domingo

    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Posts:
    6,335
    Likes Received:
    8,686
    Location:
    Colorado
    Same here. And if the ones I'm really hunting for have massive lines (I'm mainly thinking of GABF here), I'm willing to skip them unless it's something absolutely crazy.
    Some of the best items I've had at fests have been as a result of me bypassing large lines and just trying random stuff.
     
    19etz55 likes this.
  6. Derranged

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Posts:
    1,253
    Likes Received:
    1,376
    Location:
    New York
    I make sure to eat plenty before I get there.

    The rest writes itself.
     
  7. Kopfschuss

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Posts:
    383
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    Oregon
    I don't eat anything before I arrive, drink as many high ABV beers as I can and get drunk in a matter of 30 minutes. That is when I look for beer nerds with all my bros and start fights. I love beer festivals bro!
     
    NWer, Hotmetal1, ryhayes and 2 others like this.
  8. mecummins

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Posts:
    584
    Likes Received:
    1,704
    Location:
    Illinois
    I'll take a few minutes to study the map for breweries I've been wanting to sample and for beers that sound interesting. If it's a smaller fest, I'll wander after trying all the beers from the list that stand out to me. But if it's a larger one, I like to hit all the tables that interest me in the one area and then move on to the next. THis way I don't miss anything good.

    I tend not to eat at fests. I make sure to have a good meal beforehand though. I will admit, I attended a large outdoor fest where people were walking around with pretzel necklaces and I was so jealous that I didn't have one to munch on. I'm making my own when I go to it this year.
     
  9. kell50

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Posts:
    660
    Likes Received:
    3,612
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Have fun with a pretzel necklace.
     
    Dirt, Squidly, ESeab and 3 others like this.
  10. Sixam2

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Posts:
    107
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Washington
    Pretzel Necklaces ? Get out of here ! It's almost genius. Lol
     
    SammyJaxxxx likes this.
  11. mecummins

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Posts:
    584
    Likes Received:
    1,704
    Location:
    Illinois
    I know! Hands free, easily assessable snacks. And so much better than selling out $$ for lukewarm, god-only- knows- what-went-in- it fest food.
     
    19etz55 likes this.
  12. EnronCFO

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Posts:
    1,894
    Likes Received:
    2,659
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Pretzel necklaces are kind of an amateur move. They generally go hand in hand with the people that show up wearing matching Team XYZ shirts they had made up for the fest. Eat beforehand, drink water throughout, and pace yourself. A few salty bites of pretzel aren't going to make any difference in the scheme of things.

    My strategy as always been to make a list of the top 5-10 beers I want to try most and then knock those out early. The rest of the fest is about finding some variety early and then sticking to what you like later on. It's not uncommon for me to drink the same beer multiple times at a fest depending on the line situation. Thinking back to Russian River at EBF and I drank probably close to a pint each of both Plinys as the line was nonexistent for the second half of the fest.
     
  13. Sixam2

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Posts:
    107
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Washington
    Hey ! Great blog you write 'down the hatch' !
    Very very well written.. Are you in Marketing ? If not, you should be...
     
  14. mecummins

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Posts:
    584
    Likes Received:
    1,704
    Location:
    Illinois
     
    Caleb and Higy like this.
  15. mecummins

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Posts:
    584
    Likes Received:
    1,704
    Location:
    Illinois
    Yep, that me. Not in marketing. I'm actually a writer who makes a living running an office for some CPAs. Writing the blog is my outlet (especially now.)

    I have a fan. :cool: You pretty much just made my day.
     
    19etz55 likes this.
  16. Sixam2

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Posts:
    107
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Washington
    Hey ! I'm an English Major, wanna be writer, home brewer, who sells Cranes as a side job.. Lol
    Glad I made your day.. I'll continue to read your blog...
     
    19etz55 and mecummins like this.
  17. BedetheVenerable

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Posts:
    818
    Likes Received:
    472
    Location:
    Missouri
    Remain upright, friendly, pleasant, and preferably with my pants on :p
     
    WassailWilly and 19etz55 like this.
  18. Chelsea1905

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Posts:
    281
    Likes Received:
    265
    Location:
    Washington
    I usually have an idea of what beers I want to try that I have yet to try, so I go to those first. Then the favourites, and then some final beers that I've heard of and I am slightly interested in trying.

    The strategy can change a little depending on who I am with. I had a chance to get to the GABF last year, and my buddy liked good beer but had never really tried a lot. I asked him "what styles do you like?" And then I knew of a few breweries that had both what he and I would like, so we hit them up.

    But yes, ending the day with your pants on always helps.
     
    19etz55 likes this.
  19. Hopsiam14

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Posts:
    508
    Likes Received:
    289
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Always map it out and hit the wants asap. After that I wander, make food and water breaks before a final sprint that ends with me dumping over tables, missing my ride home and eating a whole pizza in the cab ride home.
     
    19etz55 likes this.
  20. 19etz55

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Posts:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    2,404
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I like your thinking.
     
  21. 19etz55

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Posts:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    2,404
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I can relate.
     
  22. 19etz55

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Posts:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    2,404
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I like that strategy.
     
  23. HokiesandBeer

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Posts:
    1,023
    Likes Received:
    935
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    No plan. It's a beer festival, it's supposed to be an enjoyable experience. If you start making plans and over thinking things then you'll just end up disappointing yourself i.e. "I should have....if I had just..." etc. Hell my first beer festival was in Singapore and being a six foot plus white guy was challenged to various beer bonging competitions. Was it stupid? Sure. Was it fun? Hell yes, we played for beer tokens!

    Don't even know why some breweries brought beer funnels.......
     
  24. Dogzbone

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Posts:
    59
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    New York
    I usually volunteer to pour at our beerfests. That usually means I get a free shirt and tasting glass and I load up on whichever brewery I'm pouring for!
     
    kemoarps, WassailWilly and mecummins like this.
  25. JrGtr

    Subscriber

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Posts:
    2,123
    Likes Received:
    1,335
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Every fest I go to has at least the breweries attending listed beforehand, and most have the beers to be served. I generally list the things I want to try the most, and try to hit those early on. Once I get through the A-list, I'll move to the next that I want to try, and so on.
     
    19etz55 likes this.
  26. EnronCFO

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2007
    Posts:
    1,894
    Likes Received:
    2,659
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Not sure, ask Woody.
     
  27. 19etz55

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Posts:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    2,404
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Nice!
     
  28. fredmugs

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Posts:
    3,593
    Likes Received:
    18,235
    Location:
    Indiana
    I've only been to one and my strategy was to start at one end and finish at the other.
     
    WoodburyMN likes this.
  29. devlishdamsel

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Posts:
    1,034
    Likes Received:
    1,183
    Location:
    Washington
    Strangely i have never been to one. I need to change this stat!
     
    mecummins and 19etz55 like this.
  30. ShogoKawada

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Posts:
    1,700
    Likes Received:
    3,013
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Beer fest strategy: hit Short's, rinse, repeat.
     
    EnronCFO and bierenutz like this.
  31. alk3kenny

    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Posts:
    139
    Likes Received:
    138
    Location:
    Georgia
    I usually try to find the beers I haven't had first. I like to try them with a clean palate and less of a buzz. Then I start to go after the stuff that I have had before and typically know that I like.
     
    19etz55 likes this.
  32. Seanvino

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Posts:
    171
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    California
    I peruse the list of breweries attending and search out those I haven't tried and/or those pouring something special. If the event is token/pay per taste a pro tip is to get half pours instead of a full glass/mug-you will almost always get more than a half pour;). At unlimited events do half pours for at least the first half of the event unless the sampling glass/mug is really small. Four hours of sampling will wreck most BA's. Keep hydrated with water. Have a plan on getting home after tasting-public transit is your friend or better yet events like Booneville that offer camping is the way to go.
     
  33. regularjohn

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Posts:
    647
    Likes Received:
    929
    Location:
    New Jersey
    drink everything in sight ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
    Dogzbone likes this.
  34. WassailWilly

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    Posts:
    1,544
    Likes Received:
    908
    Location:
    New York
    First run thru I get a glass or two I am interested in and seek out whatever freebies that may be available.
    After that I focus on the beers I havent had before and the true standouts that maybe available
    From there on all bets are off .. As long as my pants stay on anyways !!!
    There is one particular fest I always volunteer to pour at . Still another I skip totally and a third is just an all out PARTAY !!
     
  35. 19etz55

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Posts:
    1,587
    Likes Received:
    2,404
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Sounds smart.
     
  36. barleywinefiend

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2007
    Posts:
    854
    Likes Received:
    872
    Location:
    Washington
    1. Hydrate three days prior by drinking 2 gallons of high quality H2O per day.
    2. Building a base the morning of (biscuits n gravy tends to help)
    3. Zantac
    4. 1:1 ratio during festival day
    5. Know whats available and have a game plan
     
  37. Steasy66

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Posts:
    524
    Likes Received:
    298
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Best strategy for MN beerfests is to make sure one of your buddies is always in the Surly line.
     
    Bildo and NWer like this.
  38. CelticAleMan

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Posts:
    271
    Likes Received:
    155
    Location:
    California
    Find out if you can bring bottles in. If so, bring interesting ticks that others may want to try. Make a list of must try beers beforehand, ranking them in order of importance (to you). When you arrive, find out if they are all available immediately or whether some will be tapped at later times. Take note of these and check in, periodically. Hang out with a large group of friends/acquaintances and coordinate with them about which beers each person should get, so everyone in the group can try more beers than they would be able to individually. Those beers that are particularly amazing, get a whole taster to yourself. Continually socialize to add more people to your tasting group. Get faded and have a good time. Hopefully, you have the next day to recover.:)
     
  39. GoodBeerFan2006

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Posts:
    33
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    North Carolina
    That's pretty comprehensive advice. I particularly like the biscuits 'n gravy part! I agree that hydration is important. That being said, I have never attended a beerfest :(. When I do, I think I'll heed your advice.
     
    barleywinefiend likes this.
  40. Rileyman

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I make sure my Pliny teeshirt is clean and my neckbeard is presentable. I then let mom and dad know I will be leaving the basement for several hours in case they want to get their freak on. After that I just go with the flow.
     
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe