The highly-anticipated Great American Beer Festival is upon us yet again, so we thought we’d offer a public service for all those beer lovers who are making the annual pilgrimage to Denver. We live in a civil society and civil societies have rules, even within the “Wild West” culture of beer festivals where all of that free-flowing beer can lead to poor decision making on a massive scale. We’ve come up with a handy guide to act as a sort of moral compass to help you navigate the confusing waters of beer festivals. So the next time you’re at a beer celebration, whether it’s GABF or your hometown fest packed with local brewers, please follow these rules and DO NOT…
Jesus man, you’re wearing your food around your neck. Have some dignity. You know who wears their food as an accessory? Four-year-old girls with those candy bracelets and lollipop rings. And even they would be too embarrassed to wear a pretzel necklace. I get it; you need to keep eating to offset all that booze that’s going into your system. It’s a solid plan, but there are better ways to go about it than the damn pretzel necklace. Have some self-respect and stuff some beef jerky in your pockets like an adult.
It’s a beer festival, dude, so don’t be a teetotaling prude. I know you’re into the beer “for the craft” and that you don’t even want to get a buzz because it will “compromise your palate,” but come on. It’s beer, which is literally the most fun beverage in the history of beverages. And do you know why beer is so fun? Because there’s alcohol in it. And that alcohol gets you tipsy and enables stiff prudes like you to do outrageous things like dance in the silent disco and ignore the first rule of this article and hang a rope of carbs around your neck. It’s okay to get after it a little bit and have some fun, as long as you don’t…
It can be tempting to treat a beer festival like an all-you-can-drink frat party. First, there’s the economics of it: you probably paid $50 to get into the festival and the only way to recoup your investment is if you have as many three-ounce samplers as you can possibly stomach during the next two to four hours. I get it. And also, as we stated earlier, there’s alcohol in beer, which makes beer super fun and you super fun by association. Don’t let anyone tell you different: you’re more fun when you’ve been drinking. I promise. But if it’s getting late in the evening and you can’t even remember the last three beers you sampled and there’s vomit on your pretzel necklace, I’d say you just wasted that $50.
Photo via Brewers Association
I know you want to get your three ounces of that super limited Russian Imperial Stout that was aged in Pappy barrels before being rested on the bone marrow of unicorns, but do you really want to spend your allotted time at this beer festival waiting in a series of lines to drink three ounces of beer? I say pick one mythical whale you absolutely have to try, wait in line for it, then spend the rest of the time visiting the breweries that aren’t super-hyped but still make quality beer. Especially the booth right next to the one with that super long line. Show those guys some love for sure. Who knows, you might find a new beer that doesn’t have a ton of hype around it, but still manages to blow your mind. Then you can go home and brag to all your friends about how you discovered the next great unicorn marrow beer and didn’t even have to wait in line to try it. #winning.
This should be common sense, but if you don’t like a beer after taking a sip, smile politely to the brewer who worked his ass off on that beer and walk a safe distance away from his/her booth before you trash it. Do not, under any circumstance, turn to your friend after taking a sip and say something like, “dude, this beer sucks.” Basically, what I’m saying here is don’t be a dick. Whether you like the beer or not, you should always thank the brewer for showing up and have enough self awareness to realize that beer is subjective, and while a certain brew might not jive with your tastes, someone else might love it.