There is nothing better than a beer festival. People are at their best when they come together over delicious food, amazing craft beer & spirits, great conversation and fun entertainment. To help you get the most out of your beer festival experience, we’ve put together list of tips – and a little knowledge can make a lot of difference in just how much fun you have this weekend.
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: 1. Washrooms – there are extra washrooms inside the Corral (on both sides) and hardly anyone ever uses them. 2. Entrances – there are 2 entrances to the festival – Hall E and through the Corral (this is where the coat check is too) – head to the one that gets you inside fastest. 3. 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.. 4. 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.
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, 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, and so much more! And new this year, the Craft Distillery District will feature 16 of Alberta’s rapidly growing number of craft distillers!
3. Come with an open mind. Because the equipment used to make beer in craft breweries 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 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 respect the beers even if they aren’t quite your style. Every year people come either thinking they already know what beers they like or that they don’t like beer 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! And keep this in mind when trying craft spirits – just like with beer, the more you explore, the more likely you are to find a new favorite or get turned on to something you didn’t think you would like.
4. Expect to make friends. There is something special about the atmosphere and sense of community at a 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 for the washroom, (unless you listened to our tip to use the washrooms in the Corral – because then you’ll be in and out so fast you won’t have time to talk!), or start talking to the guy beside you in line while you wait for a sample – it can turn a wait into yet one more fun 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 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
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 to your area, 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 beer choices. For instance, don’t start with a really hoppy beer or you won’t be able to taste anything but hops for the rest of the day.
7. Take your time to taste the beer – A beer festival isn’t supposed to be a race; consider it a beer/spirit journey. 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 by attending. 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, take the ATB Financial Beer University MBA (Masters of Beer Appreciation) quiz, 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 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: http://albertabeerfestivals.com/events-services/calgary-international-beerfest-2/
LOCATION -BMO Centre, Halls A-E – 20 Roundup Way, Calgary AB
BEER GEEK VIP ADMISSION
Friday: Doors @ 2:30pm Sampling @ 3:00pm
Saturday: Doors @ 12:30pm Sampling @ 1:00pm
Friday: Doors @ 4:00pm
Saturday: Doors @ 2:00pm
LAST TOKEN SOLD
Friday @ 9:15pm
Saturday @ 8:15pm
LAST BEER/SPIRIT POUR
Friday @ 9:30pm
Saturday @ 8:30pm
LAST FOOD SERVED & BEER/SPIRIT CONSUMED
Friday @ 10:00pm
NO ENTRY AFTER:
Friday @ 9:00pm
Saturday @ 8:00pm
CALGARY INTERNATIONAL BEERFEST – MAY 5 & 6, 2017
Get Tickets At: www.myshowpass.com/2017-calgary-international-beerfest
EDMONTON CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL – JUNE 2 & 3, 2017
Get Tickets At: www.myshowpass.com/2017-edmonton-craft-beer-festival
And keep up to date with everything happening in the Alberta beer community by following us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @ABBeerfestivals