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Thinking About Attending a Craft Beer Festival?

a woman holding a glass of beer on a table

The Not-So-Obvious Way to Survive a Craft Beer Festival

As they say, joining brewery tours is the best justification to be able to consume beer objectively. At the most, the goal can be as simple as drinking beer while standing exactly on the place where it has been made.

This is exactly the same reason why craft beer festivals are being held – to enjoy drinking beers while having camaraderie with breweries, beer lovers, and introducing yourself to styles that you may not try elsewhere.

Brewery or beer festivals are usually held outdoors. That is why most beer festivals are held during summer – where you get to enjoy the summer air, green grass, and drinking beers outside. But winter craft beer festivals are a great way to enjoy the unique beer styles of the season – and maybe even enjoy them in the snow! 

Like brewery tours in Raleigh or Charlotte, joining beer festivals is a good opportunity to taste hard-to-find or rare beers. You can also meet face-to-face your so-called beer heroes and learn more about craft beers.

But, unlike brewery tours, beer festivals can be BIG events so one may wonder whether there is a “style” that you must learn to enjoy more.

While you already know the basics like staying hydrated or getting a designated driver so you can go home safely, it is important you learn the ropes to maximize the time you spend at beer festivals and create the ultimate craft beer experience.

How to Survive a Beer Fest

#1 Do your Homework

Beer festivals may not be that organized, especially if they are held outdoors, but they implement some sort of a system to keep the event in control. Things like the layout and beer stations are usually handed out to provide initial information about the event.

That said, it is important that you do your homework. Most beer festivals, especially the big ones, will have tons of breweries and craft beers available. However, your time is limited – even if you have all day, getting to taste all types of beer may not be feasible.

So, check out the website of the organizer or if there’s a page for the event itself and learn more about the layout of the event. Identify the key breweries and their dedicated stations in the event. Be sure to eat before the event and during, if possible, and hydrate with plenty water between samples. 


#2 Go for the “Special” Ones

By checking out key breweries, you should also prioritize the “special” ones or those that you have not heard of or those that are not available in your state or city.

Don’t waste your time drinking those that you already know the taste. Remember, you can only consume as much as your tummy and bladder can accommodate so don’t waste it.  


#3 Start with Lighter Flavored Craft Beers

Do your palate a favor by not ruining your taste buds. Start with lighter flavored beers like blonde ales or lagers then go to stronger ones, one step at a time.


#4 Buy Proper Glassware at the Festival

Often breweries bring swag to sell at the event, so find out which glassware is appropriate to the style they are pouring and buy a nice souvenir to take home and enjoy. 


#5 Wait for the Right Temperature

Some breweries use boxes that store chilled beers. While it’s nice to quench your thirst with a mug of ice-cold beer, you may not be able to taste its actual flavor.

Chilled beers usually lose its taste and aroma.  So, it’s better to warm up the beer in your hand while holding your mug and wait for a few seconds. Once your beer is on its “serving temperature”, get the most out of it and enjoy the taste.

Above all, enjoy the event. Go slow. It’s not a race. Chat with brewers and business owners or with other beer aficionados.

Pick the brain of those around you and learn beer facts from beer industry professionals at these events.  Most brewers and brewery reps are more than happy to discuss not just their beer but can be a great resource for all aspects of learning about the craft beer industry.  


Many attending these festivals are home brewers or have obtained Cicerone Certification (an additional training that you can take and is very useful to up your beer knowledge) and are happy to share their knowledge.


If you want to learn more about craft beers, beer festivals are a good way of putting all beer lovers into one good place and talk about their passion – craft beers.

Check out Brews Cruise brewery tours for upcoming beer events and festivals.