Craft beer festivals are quickly becoming a popular summer staple here in Michigan! Tons of cities host them and they’re all a little bit different, but some thought and preparation beforehand can go a long way toward avoiding and managing the inevitable beer fest chaos. If you remember these 7 tips, we’re sure you’ll be ready to conquer your next beer festival and have a blast doing it- whether it be here in Mt. Pleasant on June 11 or anywhere else in the state.
1. Consider springing for the VIP pass.
Most festivals will offer a VIP pass for an additional fee. This pass usually gets you in an hour early and makes it easy to bounce around from table to table and sample the vendors with limited quantity that may run out quickly. Plus, it gives you time to chat with brewers and maybe grab some food before the festival starts getting busy. VIP passes can be great, but if you’re not worried about the crowds, or getting to try certain samples before they run out, then maybe the additional fee won’t be worth it. Always consider your options and priorities before you arrive because VIP passes do have limited quantity, so you’ll want to act quickly!
2. Arrive sober.
Craft beer festivals are more than drinking a ton of light beer under a tent. Unlike beer tents, craft beer festivals are a great opportunity for tasting and learning. At the Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival, each guest receives a glass that holds a 4 ounce pour for you to enjoy. This gives you the ability to sample many different kinds of craft beers and learn what you like. Arriving sober creates a better tasting experience and allows you to get to know the breweries you’re sampling from. Plus, those 4 ounce pours will add up quickly!
3. Grab some food beforehand (But not too much).
We all know it’s always good to have some food in our stomachs before we douse them with beer, but for a festival, you want to find that happy medium where you’ve got a base, but there’s still room for some food sampling. Many beer festivals (like the Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival) will offer some kind of food, may it be stands, trucks, or samplings, so get something in your stomach before you arrive, but leave yourself a little wiggle room to explore the festival foods!
4. Take it slow- check everything out.
When you first arrive to a craft beer festival, it’s easy to get excited by all the sights, sounds, and smells and want to dive right in, but trust us, take your time. Take time to walk around the tents and see what breweries (and vineyards if you’re headed to Mt. Pleasant) are in attendance before you decide where to use your tickets. You don’t want to run out at the first tent you stop in and you don’t want to waste a ticket on a beer you weren’t really that interested in trying. You can even use your tickets towards the photo booth and pretzel necklaces on June 11th, so choose wisely.
5. Focus on the festival… NOT your phone.
Sure, snap a few pictures with your friends or of your favorite beers, but then put the phone away! You can post your pictures to Instagram and tweet about how much fun you had once the festival is over. Too often our phones distract us from enjoying where we actually are. So, put your phone on the back burner for a few hours and take some time to enjoy the festival first hand, not from behind a screen. Like many other festivals, the Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival will have several bands for you to enjoy, and it’s a great place to meet other beer lovers, so get off your phones and get out there!
6. Learn something.
Beer festivals are awesome opportunities for us to not only enjoy our favorite brews, but also to learn something about them. Take time to talk to the breweries and vendors. Learning how these brewers started out and what inspires them can provide a lot more insight and meaning to your favorite craft beers and who created them.
7. Don’t drive… EVER.
Unless your group has a designated driver, it’s always best to be safe and NOT get behind the wheel, even if you feel fine. Cabs are available and some festivals even offer shuttles or other means of transportation for guests. (For transportation at the Mt. Pleasant Craft Beer Festival, click here) It’s always better to be safe and pay a few extra bucks to keep yourself, friends, and others safe.
BONUS TIP: Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun, meet new people, enjoy great beer and make lots of memories!