Craft-Beer Festival Survival Guide

Here are 6 tips to help you enjoy sampling and exploring the myriad craft offerings at GABF (or any craft-beer festival).

Sep 19, 2015 - 4 min read

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Pre-Game Smart

Eat a meal about an hour before the festival. Don’t eat too little or too much. Establish a nice foundation for the festival, but give yourself some time to digest your meal. Drinking beer on a empty or full stomach can be equally uncomfortable and unadvisable. Drink water, not beer, before the festival as you’ll have plenty of opportunity to drink beer at the festival, but it’s important to hydrate (with water) before, during, and after.

Follow the 1:1 rule

For every ounce of beer you drink, drink the same amount of water. Not only will you feel better during the festival, but you’ll also feel much better the next day, letting you get right back at it. And if you’re at a festival full of octanes (beers above 8 percent ABV), consider making it a 2:1 rule.

Talk to the brewers

If the brewers themselves (or brewery representatives) man the festival, ask them about their beer. Every beer has a story, and the backdrop will not only deepen your understanding of the beer, but it will also make the entire event more enjoyable.

Cut the beer some slack

Unfortunately, most beer festivals don’t provide glassware that accentuates the aroma of the beer, and that makes a huge difference in how you are going to perceive it. Temperature is also often less than ideal. So, factor your opinion up. We like to say that there is a good chance your opinion of the beer would increase about 20 percent if you had it in the appropriate glassware at the proper temperature.


Have a plan

Do your homework up front about which breweries are going to be attending, which beers they will be serving, and where they are located at the festival.

Consider all this data as you map out the order in which you want to visit each brewery. Consider everything from the rarity of the beer to the progression of the journey your palate will be undertaking. Use the same strategy you would use at a theme park—hit the highest-demand tables first while the lines are short. Then as the lines grow, branch out to less-crowded ones.

Craft Beer & Brewing invites you to an extraordinary weekend of craft beer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mark your calendars and join us October 23–24, 2015, for the Wisconsin Craft Beer Festival where you will find a unique tasting experience as well as special brewing seminars. Get your tickets today!

Pretzel necklaces

This is matter of personal taste in a variety of ways. Many festivals don’t allow outside food, so creative beer lovers often fashion their own necklaces from pretzels and wear them around the festival, providing convenient access to a palate-cleansing snack. If you follow the 1:1 rule above, you probably won’t need this “accessory” to maintain a respectable level of sobriety.