By: Bill Robinson On: April 24, 2018 In: Calgary International Beerfest Comments: 0

Have you ever gone to an event and thought, “How did that guy get in there?” or ‘Where is she going? What does she know that I don’t?” Well fear not – because we’ve put together 10 Festival Hacks that will have other festival goers looking at YOU as if you are an insider – because you will be! To help you get the most out of your Calgary International Beerfest experience this weekend, we’ve put together a list of hints and tips – proving that a little knowledge can make a lot of difference in how much fun you have!


1) Be like a Jedi – Batman hybrid by knowing all the tricks of the festival.

Every festival has certain tricks that can save you time. Here are some of the most helpful things to know about the Calgary International Beerfest:
a) Washrooms – There is an old story about a journalist in Moscow who spent a week just standing at the doors of random buildings and almost every time, people would line up behind him because they assumed he knew something they didn’t. No need to do that at our festival because there are washrooms everywhere – take a look around and see which one has the shortest line before you get in (Hack Hint! – VIPs get their own exclusive lounges with VIP washrooms in them)
Entrances – there are 2 entrances to the festival – Hall E and Hall C – like the washrooms, pick the one with the shortest lines (each entrance has a VIP and General Admission entrance).
Sample Tokens – there are sample token areas at both entrances, but you can also purchase sample tokens at the booth in the back of Hall C as well as from the roaming token sellers – less time in line means more yummy in your mouth.
d) Seminars – The Cooking with Beer Seminars and the Brew Master Seminars are popular and fill up fast – make sure you get there early so you don’t miss out – you want to be the one telling the stories about how fun they were – rather than having to eavesdrop on someone else’s seminar stories…..


2) Know what makes the event special – Every beer festival has something special about it. Going to the Great British Beer Festival in London on the first day? Keep an eye out for the Cornish ‘band’ from Skinner’s Brewing who make quite the entrance: dressed in kilts, drumming on pails, and singing Cornish folk songs! The Calgary International Beerfest has things like the ATB Financial Beer University – with the RAHR Malting Cask Stage, our Social Media Lounge (Use our hashtag #yycbeerfest and be entered to win some great prizes including a pile of gift cards to our participating restaurants!), Brew Master Seminars, Cooking with Beer Seminars, over 500 beers to sample, 35+ restaurants to sample, the Craft Distillery District will feature 16 of Alberta’s rapidly growing number of craft distillers, music on the Village Stage and Calgary Folk Music Festival Stage, plus so much more! And new this year is the Beerfest After Party – get your tickets in advance for $9.99 when you purchase your beerfest tickets at www.showpass.com/2018-calgary-international-beerfest or from one of the roaming token teams at the event.


3) Come with an open mind. Because the equipment used to make beer and spirits in craft breweries and distilleries is pretty much the same, brewers have to go out of their way to stand out in the ever expanding craft beer market. Sometimes, they’ll try something truly out there, with ingredients like beard yeast, goat brain yeast, and even dinosaur bone yeast to create a beer – but for the most part, their explorations utilize more common food sources. Regardless, keep an open mind, try new beers and spirits, and respect those beers and spirits even if they aren’t quite your style. Every year people come either thinking they already know what beers/spirits they like or that they don’t like beer/spirits at all (that second group is what we like to call ‘wrong’) – but those that come with an open mind often find a new favorite!


4) Expect to make friends. There is something special about the atmosphere and sense of community at a beer festival – and that has a lot to do with the type of people who attend. Most beer festivalians are good, relaxed people who are there to have a fun time. Beer festivals inevitably have lines – but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Chat someone up while you are in line because it can turn a wait into yet one more fun aspect of the event.


5) Pair your beer and spirit samples with food samples – Every good beer festival will have a variety of different foods you can sample from – and we are proud to say that this year we have 35+ amazing restaurants/pubs/eateries to enjoy! Take the time to seek out foods that will complement the different beers and spirits you are trying. The right food with the right beer or spirit will enhance the tastes of both. Another good idea is to ingest your beers/spirits and food with equal parts water so you can enjoy the festival longer. All beer/spirits and food can be sampled by first purchasing sample tokens. Sample tokens are $1 and sold in sheets of ten. Each sample is a minimum of 2 tokens and a sample of beer is legally 4oz while spirits is ½ an oz.


6) Come with a plan – What do you want to get out of the event? Do you want to find a new favorite beer, sample from a style you already enjoy, try only things new, or explore the craft distillery district? One general beer strategy is to go from light beer to dark beer – though that isn’t always possible at a festival where you are travelling from booth to booth. Still, you can help your tastings by putting a little effort into your choices.


7) Take your time to taste the beer/spirits – A beer festival isn’t supposed to be a race; consider it a beer/spirit journey (Hack Hint – Get there early! Get first crack at special casks, no line ups, and more!). Really taste the beers/spirits you are sampling – and if you enjoy them, take a picture with your phone or text the name to a buddy so you can remember to pick some up after the event and support the brewery/distillery that has helped make the festival possible. Of course, if you’re looking for a much better way to track your favorite samples and have a better overall festival experience….(read #8 now).


8) Get the APP – We are excited to have the JustBeerAPP as our partner APP for all ABF festivals! Having the APP will mean you have access to the map, push notifications of everything going on at the festival, check out schedules, keep track of your favorite beers and food, plus so much more. Check it out at www.justbeerapp.com.


9) Plan your ride home – Of course, the most important thing you can do in your beer festival planning is make sure you get home safe. Most festivals have websites that can direct you to transit, cab companies, etc. Make a plan to get home before you even step foot out of your house. The Calgary International Beerfest is held on Stampede Park, which means easy access to the C-Train. We have also paired up with driving services like Keys Please, and taxi companies to have them on site so there are no excuses when it comes to getting home responsible.


10) The Who, What, When, Where – Important details are listed below – but for more information, the map, seminar schedules, and more, please visit: www.albertabeerfestivals.com



Get Tickets At: www.showpass.com/2018-calgary-international-beerfest

LOCATION -BMO Centre, Halls A-E –  20 Roundup Way, Calgary AB


Friday: Doors @ 2:30pm Sampling @ 3:00pm

Saturday: Doors @ 1:30pm Sampling @ 2:00pm

LAST TOKEN SOLD – @ 9:15pm





And keep up to date with everything happening in the Alberta beer community by following us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @ABBeerfestivals, including our upcoming Edmonton beer festival:


Get Tickets At: www.showpass.com/2018-edmonton-craft-beer-festival



Bill Robinson