Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tips for this years American Craft Beer Fest goers

As I prepare to head to Boston this weekend for this year's American Craft Beer Festival, I've been reviewing my posts from last years adventure to gather some lessons learned and best practices.

I decided to accumulate them here in the hopes that they may help you, a fellow fest goer, enjoy the event this weekend...

Parking for the fest: Bring quarters and fill the meter rather than using a lot if you only plan on hitting one session and leave town shortly after. $3-$4 in the meter to cover your time at the session versus $10 - $12 for the day, that's based on last year's findings. Now if you're going to stick around all day, all bets are off...

Footwear matters: I never thought I'd say this, but footwear matters... Yes, yes, I sound like my wife now, but seriously, sandals are not the best thing to have on your feet if you're going to be standing and walking around all day.

Lots of people, lots of walking, lots of feet...

Rock stars of the beer world: Beer "celebs" are really just normal people. So if you see Garret Oliver or perhaps Anat Baron, just say hi... No biggy...

Last year Garrett Oliver poured me a beer and we chatted very briefly.
A very approachable guy...
What's worse the shirt or my double chin???

Time IS on your side: 4 hours of unlimited 2 ounce beers is really more than enough time, so relax! I had this unnecessary sense of urgency when the event doors opened. But I promise you, there's plenty of time to try the beers you want and then some. In fact, pace yourself... Don't over due it, you want to enjoy the subtle nuances the beer has to offer.

Go easy, take your time, relax like the guy above...

Consider the order of your samples: After 8 samples, it becomes hard to really appreciate the subtle nuances of the beer, especially if you start off with a big hop bomb of a brew and then try something light after...

"Why do all the beers taste like that Double IPA I had earlier? hmmmmm"

Hydrate: Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after the session. I always get tired when I get de-hydrated. Last year I didn't hydrate enough and essentially crashed after the session.

Kenn re-hydrates after the fest at the Bell in Hand...

Consider the necklace: Last year some folks had string necklaces adorned with pretzels... Brilliant, salty pretzels at arms reach, without taking up your free hand or your sample hand. I even saw one person with a necklace that included a sample cup holder, freeing up hands for tasting notes, event twittering, and bathroom breaks...

I have no idea who the folks pictured above are,
but I was very impressed by their pretzel necklaces.

How about you? Do you have beer festival tips and tricks? If so, please leave a comment and share your ideas!


  1. Great post!

    Thanks for all the helpful advice. This will be my first, of what I hope will be many, beer festivals.

    I am a big hefe fan - and I've already studied my list of who is bringing what. Should be a great time.

  2. Thanks! My pleasure... Please come back and post your lessons learned after the fest! And keep your eyes out for me and say hi if ya bump into me...

  3. thanks for sharing your ideas to me, i'll definately apply it.

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