The 4 Stages of Surviving a Beer Festival


Beer festivals start off as your best friend and end as your worst enemy. After carefully examining my past experiences with beer festivals, I’ve concluded most of my experiences can be summed up in four stages. If none of the following has ever happened to you, then you’re lying.

The 4 Stages of a Beer Festival

Stage 1: The Optimistic, Newborn Cat Phase

Upon entering any beer festival, every attendee is like a newborn cat (some call them kittens). Everyone is curious, playful, and ready to rumble. You’re takin’ in the scenes, watching the other feline-like attendees flurry around you, and wondering “where the heck do I begin?” Your internal organs subconsciously quiver,  yet you can’t wipe the slimy smile off your face.

Stage 2: The Realization Phase

You’re still optimistic. You stand in the first fifteen person line you see, and you’re minutes away from throwin’ back your first IPA. With a grin on your face and an empty 5 oz. cup in hand, you strike up a conversation with Mark, a local carpenter. Pretty soon you’re seven minutes deep into a conversation about oak doors and you can’t leave the line. After 11 minutes you finally get your first taste of a “California Rose IPA.” WOOF. Next please.

Stage 3: The Groundhog Dog Phase

This is the worst phase to be in because all you’re doing is chugging your 3 oz. pour and then getting back into line right after. The goal of this phase is to work up a high enough intoxication level to where standing in line is fun again. You know all the names of the pourers by now, and you’re pretty sure the Smoked Berry Porter is the exact same as the Blue Lagoon IPA. Everything tastes the same and you’re two pours away from buying a $15 pretzel.

Stage 4: The Porta-Potty is Talking to Me Phase

With a visit to the bathroom comes a realization: you’re smashed.  Being alone in a porta potty (or any public bathroom) makes you realize you’re face feels like it’s melting. Also,  you just peed all over your shoe without an ounce of concern. It’s time to put yourself to bed.

Although your self loathing and angst will be at an all time high after the event, try to remember all the amazing craft beers you were able to “taste” in such a short amount of time.

If you can remember the name of a single beer you tried, then you win at beer festivals.

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Jayme Hoberg

I fell out of a womb back in the 90's, and haven't looked back since. While feeding the neighborhood raccoons lasagna every Tuesday, I write deep poems about them. I sell these poems to PETA each week for a large profit. That is how I make my living.

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