How to Attend a Beer Festival

Sydney Bell

When the Rochester Real Beer Week team asked me to write an article on how to attend (and enjoy) a beer festival, I was thinking “wow they’ve never seen this girl in action!” Then I remembered I do like to get the most out of the whole day – the beer, the food and the people.

There are so many ways to enjoy the whole week, but when it comes to the festival, some people might take it as an opportunity to get a little loose, which could take away from all the fantastic beer you have a chance to try. So if that’s your thing – no need to read beyond here.

If you’re like me and paid a great price to get lots of samples in your system in just a few hours, please continue.

I asked some friends what they think it takes to enjoy the day, both by being able to walk out of there (without help) AND trying the most amount of beer. They gave me four main answers that they assured me will result in a Great Freakin’ Time.

By far the most popular response to my question was to make sure to eat throughout the night. Vendors usually have salty, satisfying pretzels on string necklaces to snack on and keep you full. Other snack options include some poutine from Le Petit Poutine, a slice from Little Venice, a brat from Swan’s Market or some protein from McCann’s Local Meats. When you’re on a roll transitioning from the intense, hoppy flavor of your favorite IPA, to a dark, hearty stout, it’s good to remember to munch on something in the midst of trying all the brews.

Another popular tip is to try a different type of beverage in between samples; a less popular drink on Beer Fest Day. It’s clear, it’s somewhat boring, but it will save you. It’s WATER! Going one-for-one with a cup of water will keep you clear-headed and able to stay strong throughout the evening. With hundreds of beers to try, choosing to drink water will definitely help save you from a potential hangover the next day.

A tip I haven’t heard before came from one of my more organized friends. She suggested taking a look at the layout of where all the breweries will be set up. Download the RRBW app or pick up a directory as you enter the festival; take advantage of it! Everyone has their preferences, so to get to your favorites and know how to navigate the place.

LASTLY – great beer, music and summertime in Rochester brought all these people together, so try starting a conversation with someone who’s sippin’ on something from the same brewery, or in line to get more pretzel necklaces. What did they try? Do they have any recommendations? This is a great time to get to know people in your community and make some new friends.

Have a great time at the Expo and don’t be that guy (or gal.)