The Chili Parlor

July, 1998       Click here to return to
                      the Chili Parlor Menu

Every year more and more beer festivals are popping up all over the country with many major cities hosting more than one festival in any given year. Along with the explosion in the number of festivals is the explosion in attendance. We’d like to give you some tips that can make the festivals you attend more enjoyable. We’ll cover things like what clothes are best, to what to avoid at the festivals.

Know What You’re Getting Into

As we said above, beer festival attendance is getting greater and greater. Once you’ve decided on a festival to attend, order tickets well in advance. If you wait until the day of the event, you might find the festival is sold out and that, of course, would leave your weekend flat.

I suspect you plan on drinking some beer at the festival so do yourself and everyone else a favor and have a designated driver with you. If you’re alone or everybody with you wants to sample, check out the local public transportation. Be sure you know their availability around the time you plan to leave, have their schedules and maybe even the phone numbers for some reliable cab companies.

Remember, you’ll be drinking. Don’t do it on an empty stomach. Start your day off with a high carb breakfast or brunch. Depending on how much you “sample”, you might want to periodically stoke the furnace during the day too.

Festival Threads

Unless you’ve been informed an audience with the Queen will be part of the festivities, go for casual clothes. More formal apparel is usually close fitting. There’s nothing worse than tight fitting clothes when you get hot, or wet, active or worst of all, when you experience the direct corollary between the amount of beer consumption and the room for epidermal expansion (beer bloat). Practically speaking, darker colors are probably your safest bet. Nothing looks worse than a big splash of color, compliments of a misdirected sip of Belgian Dark Ale on a canary yellow polo shirt.

The right footwear can be the difference between a great sampling experience and feeling like you've just run a marathon in a pair of wingtips. Again, know the festival. Some are held indoors, on concrete floors (clean up crews can just hose down the decks when the party’s over) and some are held outdoors, often on less than even footing. For the indoor events, we suggest shoes that offer support for your ankles and arches. Outdoors you’d probably do well with hiking type shoes or sneakers with plenty of cushioned insole.

At outdoor festivals, you might consider a good pair of UV coated sunglasses. You’ll be out there a long time and what the hey, you know the UV rays are bad for the beer. They can’t be doing your eyes any good.

Do Not Go Empty Handed
Into That Good Festival

If you’ve been to beer festivals before or if you’re sampling for more than immediate gratification, you know you’ll want some kind of carry all for the tools of the trade. A nylon or canvas bag with large handles or even better, a shoulder duffel, are great additions to your festival experience. There are all kinds of things you’ll want to have with you like a good beer guide (you can’t tell the players without a program). When you arrive at the festival, be sure to get a list of the participating brewers or better yet a festival map. Also weed through all the junk you get handed upon admission and make sure you save all the free beer coupons. You may also want a camera, something to put the labels into that you’ve collected and maybe a notebook to record your observations. Your bag is also a great place to store any merchandise your favorite brewer is hawking.

If the idea is to taste beer, how are you supposed to write in a notebook or collect and store labels? Veteran festival goers use beer holsters slung around the neck or attached to your belt.

To go to a printable Beer Evaluation Form, CLICK HERE.

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