Beer festivals are probably the easiest way to define your beer likes and dislikes or get some ideas for that next batch of homebrew you are going to make. They are offered all over the country and usually attract 40 or more brewers who bring two or three of their staples, or new release brews.
Not only is it a great way for consumers to stay current on the craft beer landscape, it has commercial benefits to promote the craft beer industry, and help new brewers get some visibility and talk about their products directly with potential customers.
Event promoters usually have it set up with a tasting vessel that will hold 4 oz of beer, and provide tokens for a limited number of tastes, with the option to buy additional tokes. Some venues have a fixed price with limited hours, and unlimited tastes. Most people arrange their arrival times to coincide with other events in their day. While the festivals can run from noon to 11pm, most people are pretty well sated within two to three hours.Often they run multiple days, sometimes with different beers being poured each day. Get a beer you don’t like? No problem. The next place will gladly dispose of it for you, rinse your taster, and fill it with their offering.
They also are great places to people watch. I generally spend half my time sampling interesting beers to write about – and the other half looking for photo opportunities for the blog. Here are some examples of what you might see at a beer festival:
Tacoma Craft Beer Festival – Tacoma, WA
Great Canadian Beer Festival – Victoria, British Columbia
Great Pumpkin Beer Festival – Seattle, WA
Holiday Ale Festival – Portland, OR
Photography and content by Bob Shoemaker
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