Beer Festival Tips from the Mayor

Great American Beer Festival 2012. The ultimate pretzel necklace.
This guy at GABF needs no tips.

Colorado loves beer festivals. They occur year round, but during the summer you could attend one every weekend, should your liver and pocketbook be able to take it.

I’m not a beer blogger, so I don’t attend every Colorado beer event, but I do go to my fair share and I’ve learned a thing or two that may help you out.

These are my tips in no particular order of importance, except for maybe number one. If you do not heed tip number one, you’ll be a hurtin’ unit. Oh, and number four is imperative too. On second thought, to get the most out of your beer festival experience, you should probably abide by all of these tips.

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I’m not going to give you some big sermon about elevation. Whether you attend a beer festival in the Mile High City or at sea level you need to hydrate. I start the day before. No joke. I make sure that I get a full eight pints of water, and then on the morning of the beer fest, I guzzle water. I’m not a medical doctor, but I’m pretty sure that no such thing as being overhydrate for a beer festival (or a wine fest for that matter).

Colorado Brewers Festival 2014.
These two Colorado Brewers’ Festival VIPs know how to party at a beer fest.

2. Buy a VIP ticket. Seriously, if you are a beer connoisseur, or just want to be, a VIP beer festival ticket is the way to go. VIP tickets often include things like early entry to the festival (you can taste for an extra hour without having to rub shoulders with the unwashed masses). VIPs also frequently get access to small-batch beers that the general admission folks won’t be able to taste.

Sometimes VIPs get snacks or even a full meal. The real bonus is that a VIP ticket often gives you access to a shade tent and VIP bathrooms where the lines are much shorter. Let’s face it, being a VIP is tops. If you are going to buy expensive beer festival tickets, why not spent a little extra and become a Very Important Person.

3. Taste the beers from the breweries you really, really want to try first. Face it, by the time you are two hours and 40 beer tastes into the fest, everything will taste the same. It will taste like beer. Get to those “gotta try it” beers before your taste buds have shriveled and died.

Great American Beer Festival 2012. The silence dance floor.
This girl can dance. This girl shouldn’t drive. GABF 2012

4. Don’t drive, stupid. I know that some people play this game in their head: “I’ll drink until 4 and then I’ll stop. I’ll have an hour or two to sober up before I drive home.”

What really happens is that by four you are having so much fun that you forgot your grand idea about giving yourself two hours to sober up and you keep drinking until the festival closes.

Plan ahead. Arrange for a designated driver, Uber or car service ahead of time. The average DUI in Colorado is $15,000. Splitting a car service with your friends can be as little as $20 per couple (or even less). Many mountain towns have free shuttle services. Why wouldn’t you utilize a FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE?

Got a tip you’d like to share? Leave it in the comment section. Especially hangover cures. We could all use that tip!


  1. I’d even recommend that you take a break between drinks and have something else, water, pop, lemonade, throughout the day. It clears your head and your palate. I’m not a beer drinker, but love the German Traditions presented at Oktoberfests. Since there ARE so many opportunities, just be a little circumspect. No need to get drunk every time. Enjoy the atmosphere!


    1. Sofablue, I totallyl agree. Atmosphere is everything! I judge most festivals by atmosphere and that’s why Winter Park Beer Festival is now a favorite. We were up there earlier this month and it had the best, laid back vibe. Everyone there seemed to be interested in soaking up the atmosphere instead of concentration on just getting lit!


  2. Cover yourself in brewery swag stickers…many, many stickers 😉 and don’t drive drunk!


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