Beer Festival Survival Guide

By / Wine + Drinks / May 21st, 2019 / 9
Beer Festival Survival Guide

Well, we’re finally (barely) starting to enter summer! The patios are opening, the big warming boozy beers are being replaced with the seasonably appropriate light, crisp and flavourful offerings and everyone is looking forward to putting their summer clothes on and enjoying some much-needed fun in the sun.

And a big part of that fun is going to all the wonderful beer festivals.

Whether it’s internationally renowned festivals like the Great British Beer Festival in London, Mondial de la Bière in Montreal and the Qingdao International Beer Festival in China, or the more localized festivals like Session Toronto, the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival and Sawdust City’s Funkfest, beer festivals make for a wonderful outing, with lots of beer experimentation abound.

They can also be a source of great intimidation. After all, when you’re at a festival and have access to some of the best beer the city, province or even the world has to offer, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed and deal with some significant fear of missing out on some beers. By the same turn, it’s also very easy to get a little carried away with yourself at a festival and forget some of the practical measures that come with having a few too many.

So with that, I’m here to offer you a few practical tips on surviving a beer festival this year. Whether it’s your first one or your twentieth, it’s always good to keep these tips in mind.

Go in with a plan

Most of these festivals will put up a list in advance that details the breweries and beers that will be present. Look through it and highlight which ones you’d really like to try.

You aren’t going to drink everything

Many of these festivals will have thousands and thousands of different beers available and, while it’s noble to want to pay each and every one of them your respects, you may as well face facts — it’s just not going to happen. Focus on the highlighted beers you’d like to try and make a note to try the others some other time, either at a bar or at the next festival!

Bring cash

Beer tokens cost money and many of the token booths don’t take cards. There are ATM machines, but those can have a long wait, destroying what precious time you have to explore the beers at the festival.

Remember to eat something

Drinking on an empty stomach is, as we all know, a recipe for disaster. All of these festivals usually have some food options available, so making use of them would be beneficial for your health and your taste buds.

Stay hydrated

No, I don’t mean just with beer. Bring a bottle of water with you and make sure to refill it at certain intervals at the festival.

Get a cab home

After spending an entire day drinking beer, does it really have to be said that you shouldn’t drive home afterwards? Ditch the car and take a cab.

Have fun! Probably the most important rule! You’re exploring some truly world-class beers with thousands of others. Make friends! Taste some good beer! Enjoy yourself!


Robin LeBlanc is a beer columnist, award-winning blogger at, and co-author of The Ontario Craft Beer Guide, a guidebook to all of Ontario's breweries now in its second edition. She lives in Toronto.

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