So you're going to a craft beer festival for the first time! Well, don't go wearing your two-beer-can hat and stretchy pants, expecting to wander around eating peanuts or jerky and siphoning off first one beer then the other by bendy straws.
There are many craft beer festivals popping up all around the country, and once you've chosen the one you want to attend, there are some procedures you can follow which will give you the best experience possible - so you'll return year after year - and not just for the beer.
First, remember even small tastes of beer will add up after a day of sampling - don't drink and drive! Make prior arrangements for your ride back to your hotel room or home. Eating does not negate the effects of alcohol enough to get behind the wheel. Many festivals will discount the cost of the ticket for the designated driver, and some provide shuttles for those close to home or hotel.
It's advisable to buy tickets in advance whenever possible. Craft beer festivals are becoming more and more popular and often are sold out before the event opens. Purchasing tickets online or over the phone will guarantee your entrance.
Drink water! Alcohol dehydrates at any time of year. Drinking water at regular intervals will prevent this and help keep beery headaches away. Typically, 2 to 3 oz is allowed in each sample. Don't request more, it's against the law.
Pace yourself with intermittent food and water. It's surprising how quickly alcohol enters your system and affects your actions, even with the sample sizes of beer. Don't be a glutton, there's plenty to try.
You may not wear your two-beer-can hat, but make sure your shoes are comfy! As much wandering around as is often needed, high heels or dressy loafers may cause discomfort which prevents your full enjoyment of the day.
Bring a notebook. At the end of the day, you will not remember what you tried at the beginning, but a notebook will remind you for when you get home.
Prepare for the weather. Some festivals are partly indoors and partly outside. In order to enjoy all aspects of any festival, some fundamental weather gear may be required. And don't forget the sunscreen!