With plenty more upcoming brewfests, I offer this advice

by DGO Web Administrator

If you’re involved in the craft beer world in any way, from casual beer drinker to quality control supervisor, you have likely been to a beer festival. Beer festivals were a quirky little oddity a generation ago, strictly limited to beer mecca of Germany’s Oktoberfest, but now every community worth their soft salted pretzel has at least one annual beer fest. I’ve been to a lot of brewfests, and they’re almost always a blast. Sometimes though, they can be a terrible drunken shitshow. As with all drunken shitshows, there are some ways to ensure you and everyone around you has a good time.

First of all, be respectful of your fellow beer nerds. Everyone there is on a different beer journey and you could be the asshole to ruin it for them if you dismiss their lack of knowledge while mansplaining all your great beer accomplishments. (Trust me, dude, no one wants to hear about that really exclusive bomber you have in your extensive cellar, or about how good of a homebrewer you are.) Talk about how good the beer is here and now. Respecting your fellow fest-goers also extends to basic human etiquette: Don’t cut, if you spill someone’s drink replace it, don’t throw up on anyone’s shoes, etc.

Now, I do not normally condone excessive public drunkenness, but I will say, at beerfests it’s gonna happen. It’s a slower ride than New Year’s Eve or Halloween, but there’s a way to keep your shit together while being extraordinarily drunk. Plan your ride ahead, drink plenty of water, eat plenty of food (pretzle necklaces are not enough), and if you must puke, puke in private. Also, don’t be afraid to find a nice soft place to take a nap. And above all, be a good public drunken idiot.

Beerfests are not entirely about beer, but if you’re intending to dive really deep into the beer nerdhole, get there early: The best stuff is on tap before it opens to share with the other brewers. Do talk to the brewers. Be a fanboy. We like it. It makes us feel like rockstars. And, we can definitely steer you in the right direction if you need advice on your next pour. Also, pace yourself. There’s going to be lots and lots of beer and you don’t want your palate wrecked by running around trying every single sour or every IPA over 90 IBUs. Switching between malty, bitter and sour also will keep your tastebuds in tip-top shape.

Southwest Colorado is in the peak of beerfest season right now. It’s a great time to be in the beer scene no matter what stage in your beer journey you happen to be in.

Robert Alan Wendeborn is a former cellar operator at Ska Brewing and current lead cellar operator at Tin Roof Brewing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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