Are you a beer lover or beer brewer? Do you want to learn more about beer? If so, it would be a good idea to visit a beer festival if you haven’t done so already. There are beer festivals all over the United Statesthese days. Before splashing out on a ticket to taste a variety of tantalizing brews, let’s look at some of the factors that make certain festivals stand out against the rest.
What should be included in great beer festivals?
- Excellent food: Make sure there is enough food available to purchase at the festival. Some festivals offer fabulous food pairing with specialty craft beers, while others offer fast food from a food truck. Don’t rely on snacks to get you through an event. Although a pretzel snack necklace is essential for any beer festival, you will still need something more substantial.
- Music: No event is complete without vibey tunes. Check out which DJs or bands are on the lineup.
- Entertainment: There is more than just beer tasting available at most beer festivals. Look out for talks, homebrewing demonstrations, beer-related vendors, and games.
Tips to take in before hitting a festival
- Beer festivals are happening throughout the year. Look at the weather report and make sure that you dress appropriately.
- Study the list of beers that are going to be served.
- Pace yourself. Make a plan of how you want to approach the specific festival if necessary.
- Keep well hydrated by drinking enough water and take your own water bottle if it helps.
- Don’t finish off a taster of beer if you don’t like it.
How do you keep track of the beers that you try?
UnTappd is a popular app for rating beers with a review. Try to avoid spending all your time tracking beers on your phone at beer festivals. Take a photo of your taster next to its corresponding info card on the booth’s table instead. You can add a review on the app later.
Beer festivals that lead the way
Here are the top beer festivals in the United States that you can’t miss:
Savor is the leading beer and food pairing event in the United States. A general admission ticket includes unlimited food pairings of more than 200 unique craft beers with tantalizing culinary delights. It’s sure to be an unforgettable experience for beer lovers and foodies alike. Not only do you get to explore a variety of rare beer styles, but you also get to meet the brewery luminaries behind more than 100 small and independent U.S. craft breweries. You’ll receive a commemorative tasting glass and exclusive commemorative beer.
- Where: Washington, D.C.
- When: May
- Cost: General admission US$139. VIP and premium admission are also available on sale
Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival
Here is another top beer festival to add to your bucket list. The festival hosts several premier brewers, who are leaders in the craft beer revolution, and it offers its own brew as well. The festival is targeted at brewers who are looking for networking opportunities. Beer lovers can also join in the fun. It’s a time to appreciate live music and to share stories, while enjoying a beer with other enthusiasts. There are popcorn pairings and talks to attend and food is included in the price of the ticket.
- Where: Paso Robles, California
- When: June
- Cost: USD$90+
Oregon Brewers Festival
The Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) is a four-day outdoor craft beer festival. There is an assortment of food trucks to keep the wolf from the door and to give you the necessary stamina. There is also a Meet the Brewer area, Brewer Dunk Tank, and a games area. If you are interested to learn how to brew your own beer, join one of the homebrewing demonstrations. There are plenty of vendors, selling beer-related items, too. It’s possible to check out the festival participants closer to the time and to download a spreadsheet of the different beers represented. You can sort through them by style, IBU, or ABV. There is a festival map on the website if you are planning on attending. The festival also welcomes volunteers.
- Where: Portland, Oregon
- When: July
- Cost: USD$20
The Great Taste of the Midwest
If you are looking for great beer, a gorgeous setting, and a wild after-party, then this is one of the best beer festivals for you. The festival features more than 190 of the Midwest’s finest craft brewers. There are also pairings and presentations to enjoy. “Great Taste Eve” events allow you to sample special beers from visiting breweries, at establishments all around town, before the actual festival.
- Where: Madison, Wisconsin
- When: August
- Cost: USD$60
Great American Beer Festival (GABF)
This is a super popular festival for brewers, beer bloggers, beer trading pals, and beer lovers. With so much to see and so many brews to taste, you need a plan to get around successfully. The festival hosts breweries from all across the United States.
This year, the 39th annual GABF is going online and is offering a “passport” program. From October the 1st to the 18th, “passport” holders will have exclusive access to deals at participating festival breweries nationwide. On October 16th and 17th, “passport” holders will have exclusive access to online content during the Official Virtual Festival, with interactive activities like tastings and interviews with brewers from around the country.
- Where: Denver, Colorado
- When: October
- Cost: Online Tickets, US$20. Usually, tickets cost US$85+
Enjoying beer festivals to the fullest doesn’t just mean tasting and drinking beer, although that is a large part of it. There are other aspects to enjoy too, like traveling to a new destination, meeting new people, watching live shows, and splashing out on great food. Go ahead, the most amazing beer festivals are waiting for you!