How NOT to Document a Beer Festival

Friday marked my third annual Beer Fest participation. Or maybe it was my fourth, or fifth, I don’t really remember. Such is the way of a girl who documents beer festivals.

Anyway, as per usual the event was a blast. My friends and I were lucky enough to score tickets for the Friday night event, which took some strategic planning on our part. I rounded up three ticket wranglers to be poised at the NLC website a few weeks ago to click “Refresh” repeatedly until the tickets went on sale. We each bought four and spread them throughout our posse. They sold out within 6 minutes.

The event is meant to showcase beers from all around the globe. Many people do show up at the event expecting to take notes and properly assess different brews. But for the most part, you get a lot of people just looking to get intoxicated.

Here’s how NOT to do it (or if you’re like me, how to do it and do it well).

First, skip the coat check line-up to maximize full beer sampling potential. In an effort to still appear refined, always extend pinkies while drinking. (Note the adorable miniature beer mugs–so cute! Also, pocket said beer mugs and don’t lose them, lest you want a $20 fine. No joke.)

NLC beer fest

Pose with friends for token friends shot.

beer fest

Attempt to take comprehensive notes, as shown below.

Entirely annoy bartender by cracking too many jokes about Singapore’s Tiger Beer being made with real tiger blood.

Tiger Beer

Similarly, poke fun at the insanely large line-up for the male bathroom while the female bathroom remains mostly empty. Ladies who don’t like beer, you’re seriously missing out on a huge potential husband market here.

sausage fest

Win a killer, heavy-duty bottle opener. Then attempt to open your mug of beer with bottle opener (?), and then lose it forever.

misuse of bottle opener

Drink a lot more to pretend your friends’ rowdy behavior isn’t embarrassing.

Sit down at a picnic table to write notes.

Take a nap.

In the morning, analyze said notes.

beerfest notes

Turns out I like Molson more than Labatt, who would’ve figured? Judging by the the trailed-off “yum,” writing simple notes became too much effort.

Beer Fest DOES work, however: the next day my friends and I all discussed how much we loved Mill Street’s Lemon Tea brew, and I did enjoy their Coffee Porter. Tiger Beer turned out to be quite delicious, and I found a new love in William Premium Cider.

See you next year, Beer Fest!

  • March 28 2011

    Oooh, the next time I’m in the market for a husband, I will certainly be hitting up a beer festival. An “untapped” resource for sure!

    • March 30 2011

      “Untapped” indeed! *high five*

  • March 28 2011

    Sounds like you had a great time!

  • March 28 2011

    I am just so impressed you took notes!! I’m taking notes on this blog so next time we have more than a blurry memory and shaky photos to decipher!! :)

    • March 30 2011

      Hahaha, I made a conscious decision beforehand to take notes for blog purposes…I did good!

  • March 28 2011

    If you ever find yourself in London in August the Great British Ale and Cider Festival is well worth a visit. An excellent day (or three) out with an excellent selection of, well, beers and ciders but also A-mazing British food. Plus there are some old school pub games for entertainment. There’s even this incredible balloon moulding guy. He made a white bunny hat for me out of a balloon – seriously.

    • March 30 2011

      PUB GAMES? I don’t even know what that MEANS! I love it.

  • March 28 2011

    This is hilarious, love the notes you made – especially the first one. I never used to be a beer drinker, but I’ve expanded my tastes in the last few years. A beer festival sounds like a lot fun. . . of course hard work.

    • March 30 2011

      Terrible, terrible exhausting work! ;)

  • March 28 2011
    Susan D

    I wish I could have gone! Hopefully next year.
    I’ll try not to embarrass you with my drunken behavior but I’m not making any promises. ;)

    Great pictures. I love your notes.

    • March 30 2011

      It’s okay, I welcome embarrassing moments, makes for great photo opps.

  • March 28 2011

    Haha hot dogs totally go good with keiths premium white. They should pretty much throw that on their label, or at the very least their box. Good drunk notes! Quite impressed you were able to hang onto them, I seem to lose everything when I drink.

    • March 30 2011

      Oh no, the beer totally tasted LIKE hot dogs! Maybe we had a bad brew. P.S. I return to Hali May 18th, pumped!

  • March 28 2011

    Wow I wish we could get good cider AND Tiger beer here in Wyoming! I remember when I was in Vietnam that, while drinking Tiger beer, I ran into an expat who informed me that nobody’s life is complete until they have a good Tiger beer story… but that’s about all I remember from that night. ;-)

    Your beer fest sounds like fun!

    • March 30 2011

      Hahaha, does that mean you have a good Tiger beer story then?

  • March 28 2011

    I’m just going to ignore the part where you imply I’m rowdy and embarrassing. . . ;P
    And instead focus on all the AWESOME PICTURES you got without taking your own camera. Ahem.
    (you’re welcome. :P )


    One of my coworkers, her husband read up on the beers that would be there and made note of which ones he can’t generally get here in St John’s and made a point of being sure to try all of them first. And he totally made notes in his book. I think he’s the target audience.
    (though, I am telling everyone who’ll listen to get some of that lemon tea beer into their bellies.)

    That same coworker knows those 2 guys we ran into right before we got some India.. they told her I was very drunk. Oops. ;P

    I want some cider now… mmm….

    • March 30 2011

      That photo makes my life, and I was SO tempted to put in the one of you and the old man…

  • March 28 2011

    Your pictures and captions are seriously amazing.

  • March 28 2011

    I’m pretty sure you were mistaken when you said this was how NOT to do it. Drinking, pinkie’s up, annoying bartenders, and most importantly napping…that’s the ONLY way to document.

    I also am pretty sure you weren’t the most annoying person the bartender had to deal with AND I also think it’s an assumed risk when accepting a job to be a bartender. My favorite is you opening the mug of beer with a bottle opener. I have to really worry about your advice of picking up a husband there…maybe if you’re in the market for a alcoholic husband…

    Your friends look VERY rowdy and embarrassing…especially the one in the middle. ;)

    Sigh…that’s just what I need today–beer festival. Or everyday for that matter!

    • March 30 2011

      Hahaha, it was an AMAZING time! Can’t for the life of me figure out what I did with that bottle opener though…

  • March 29 2011

    Aw, I feel for those guys standing in line. They’re not good with holding on like women are (not enough practice standing in long lines).

    • March 30 2011

      It works in the reverse way for Spirit Fest (all liquors)…women’s line-up is HUUUUGE and guy’s not so much. But then girls just break into the boys’ bathroom, which I’m sure can’t work in the reverse manner…

  • March 29 2011

    Beer…. yum!

    I think this is the first location where girls don’t have to wait in line. Sounds like my type of place. ;)

  • March 29 2011

    Ha, the notes made me laugh, but it’s a nice touch to remember the next morning.

    • March 30 2011

      Hahaha, I don’t even remember writing that second one…

  • March 29 2011

    Wow. Captcha code. Drunk test and I totally failed. Rewriting:

    Hover over the clickety click on May 1 when tickets for Madison, Wisconsin’s Great Taste of the Midwest go on sale. Best fest I’ve ever been to. So good I think the brewers love it even more than the drinkers. Starts on a Friday night with the pre-parties when visiting brewers take over the tap lines in a number of bars in town for a moveable fest. The fest itself is Saturday afternoon and highly organized with free buses from area pick up points, free taxis home, and brewers breaking out brews that they made especially for the fest. Everything from the perfectly brewed styles to some outrageous yet drinkable concoctions. Real ales and bourbon-barrel aged. Beer and cheese pairings. Live music. Then Sunday, if you are still not in line for a liver transplant, kegs and eggs at The Old Fashioned (Restaurant/bar with 50 Wisconsin microbeers on tap).

    • March 30 2011

      Kevin, you had me at “cheese pairings.” Actually, who am I kidding, you had me at “beer.”

      Sounds unreal! I’d be there in a heartbeat.

  • March 29 2011

    the only thing better than beer is more beer

  • March 29 2011

    Why, it’s the perfect occasion for dressing to impress (I would rock the h out of a sleeveless Pabst t-shirt). “That’s right, Beer Fest… I’m totally refined like that!” *burp*

    • March 30 2011

      I know, right? The first time a beer gut actually fits IN…

  • March 29 2011


    My beer festival notes are equally…..brilliant. Poetic, even. “Beer = grod”….now that’s a thinker.

    • March 30 2011

      Oh no, that’s supposed to be “good”! My writing gets as slurred as my speech while drinking, apparently…trust me, it’s actually much prettier. Maybe.

  • April 04 2011

    People are looking at my funny in this hostel because I can’t stop laughing!
    you are the best!

    • April 05 2011

      Hahahahahaha, wish you were here to enjoy it!

  • April 05 2011

    OMG – This post was heelarious! I felt the energy bursting from the pictures and words. Reminds me, we should hit Stella Artois during TBEX time, they have a large array of Belgium beers and decent eats.

    Woman, you are such a great writer!

    What’s with the captcha code crap? To keep spammers away? That’s how I get dates though. No cpatcha = action for Jeannie.

    • April 05 2011

      Bahaha, thank you! :D Can’t WAIT to hit up TBEX with you! Woooot.

      Oh dear, is the CAPTCHA code being a bitch? It was blocking other people’s comments…sorry!

  • April 16 2011

    You may be the person I look forward to meeting most at TBEX. Love this post.

    • April 19 2011

      Hahahaha, this comment totally made my day.

  • April 18 2012

    I’ve had a “white” beer before while beer-tasting at a bar in Quebec City and I thought it tasted like hot dogs too! Or sausages or something… I thought I was crazy but I’m glad I’m not the only one.

    • April 18 2012

      Bahahaha! You need White Keith’s.

  • January 03 2013

    I tried to document a Beer festival once. Wasn’t really sucessful as I ended up in a bar full of Aussies drinking ’till 4am and missed my flight!! oops!!

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