Beer festival

Easy, big fella

I really need to come up with a smarter way of handling beer festivals and other beery-like events.
It’s a conclusion I’ve come to after experiencing the Meet the Brewer event at Harts Pub as part of Sydney Craft Beer Week and, before that, the Trainworks Beer Festival.

I need to come up with a beer festival strategy so I don’t end up like this one day.

In both cases, what essentially happens is that I think ‘‘it’s free beer!’’ (I was lucky enough to score a media pass for both events) and so I race around trying as much beer as I can as quickly as I can.
It’s as though I figure the beer is going to run out soon and I have to get around to it all in the shortest possible time.
There’s also the wrinkle problem of being a newspaper beer reviewer and knowing a number of the brewers. I’ll go over to their stall to say ‘Hi’’ and they’ll offer me some beer, which I accept because to do anything else would seem rude.
So that tends to speed things up too. This all results in three things happening
A) I get drunk far too early;
B) I miss out on some beers I really wanted to try; and
C) I have to leave and go lie down somewhere
So I’ve been creating a strategy to make things a bit easier on my stomach and head (and maybe even my liver).
I’m not sure how to politely decline a beer when it’s offered by the guy who made it, but I’ve come up with a few other plans of attack.
The obvious one is to drink more water. Surrounded by loads of beer at a festival I tend to think water is just taking up valuable stomach real estate that could be filled by beer. But drinking from a water bottle through the day would help with the staying power – as well as slow down the headlong, frantic ‘‘Jesus Christ! There’s free beer!’’ rush.
Then there’s the idea of taking smaller samples. I learned that one – albeit too late – from Endeavour’s Andy Stewart at the Meet the Brewer event. While I was knocking back schooners of great beer, he was drinking from a half-pint glass. So he was drinking much less than me with each beer – and I’d bet he didn’t have to leave to go and lie down as early as I did either.
There’s also the idea of having something to eat, which both puts food in the belly to slow the absorption of beer and also means I take a break from imbibing.
And having a plan would be an idea too, so I don’t miss out on any beers I wanted to try (I got this idea from googling ‘‘surviving a beer festival’’. The internet really has the answer to anything you could ever ask). It could be as simple as just having a look around at all the offerings before trying any of the beers.
That way I don’t wake up the next morning full of regret at missing some particular beer.
So now I have a strategy of sorts. All I need to make sure that I’m smart enough to follow it.

2 replies »

  1. Good call!

    And may I use this opportunity to pimp my similar post on this topic? I wrote a (wanky) “Survival Guide” for beer weeks & festivals in the lead up to Melbourne’s Good Beer Week earlier this year:

    Sure, for some people it may be seen as killing the “fun” from beer…but maybe you’re not having the right kind of “fun” when it comes to appreciating good beer and all that comes with & around it.

    Basicly…my advice is – PLAN, WATER, FOOD, BACKUP. ENJOY. CHEERS!

    • Nice work. I initially thought taking it easy and thinking ahead took all the “fun” out of a beer festival. But after a few dusty mornings I changed my tune. Pacing myself a bit means I can still enjoy the festival AND the next morning too.

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