Teach Me How To Beerfest

Beerfest.

To some, it’s a hilarious film. To others, it’s an annoying film that was hilarious until their quote-happy friend ruined it… just like they ruined Borat, Old School, and Good Burger (You could’ve at least left me my Kenan and Kel, you Mondo Burger Mother*****r).

But to this “journalist”, Beerfest was stripped of its cinematic relevance when I recently attended Septemberfest, an all-you-can-drink craft beer festival held at the Santa Monica Pier. You may notice that I didn’t — as I so often do — force an ill-fitting joke into that last sentence. That’s because all-you-can-drink craft beer is no laughing matter. A gaffe-ing matter, perhaps (Dust off your dictionary, heathen). But definitely not a laughing one. So for the sake of practicality, I’ll forgo the “humor” for a few experience-based tips to help anyone attending a beerfest or four in the near future.

1. Know what you’re in for. Talk to some people who went last year. See if you can find a newspaper or blog review. How are the beer lines? How are the bathroom lines? Plan accordingly. Nobody wants to be the guy in the piss line whining about how “I have a perfectly good catheter at home that would’ve been so clutch right now!”

2. Talk to the brewers. Sometimes the people pouring are volunteers, but a lot of times, they’re the people who brewed the glorious swill itself. Make friends. Don’t be that douchebag just trying to get drunk. If that’s the case, you could’ve spent twenty on a thirty-rack and stayed in. You’re here to drink, but you’re also here to learn. Speaking of which:

3. Bring a pencil and pocket-sized notebook. I know you probably won’t do this. I intended to, forgot to, and now I’m kicking myself. Of course I had a great time, but now I can only recall a couple stand-out beers. There’s a whole army of microbrews out there with catchy names and similarly catchy tastes that are lost to me! Plus, there are loads of drunk shenanigans you can get into with pencil and paper. Grab a chair! Become a mini-caricature artist! If that doesn’t get a girl to talk to you briefly and then walk off to find someone cooler, I don’t know what will.

4. Strategize. Let’s bring it back. Learning about beer is an important component of the beerfest, but you obviously can’t learn unless you taste as many beers as possible- like really taste them, three or four or five or six times. This involves strategy. The well-known and/or flashier beers will have longer lines. Don’t get in one of these lines unless you have a full glass. If it’s an extra long line, make your “line beer” as heavy or hoppy as possible. Whatever will force you to sip. The biggest tragedy is finding yourself halfway through the line as you tongue-reach for that last drop. Also, please don’t actually tongue-reach for your last drop. Is that a thing? I hope that’s not a thing.

5. Take Pictures. This can certainly be in lieu of your pencil and paper, but I’m thinkin’ more for the fun faces you’re trying to remember, not to mention the ridiculous costumes you or your friends may be wearing. Plus, if you don’t take any pictures at the event, you won’t have anything relevant for your blog and you’ll have to post a really stupid one from later that night.

~Don Julian

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