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  1. #1
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    Experiences w/Craft Beer Festivals

    I am a pretty avid beer drinker. I enjoy all types, and I love trying the latest releases from pretty much any brewery so naturally I love going to beer festivals. The majority of festivals I attend, most breweries bring a new release, or a limited release and at least 3-5 different beers from their line. Just recently I had the worst craft beer festival experience I have ever had. See below for the list of things I didnít like. Have you experienced this before in any way? Please share! In case anyone wants to avoid this in the future if you live near Dekalb. The festival was called Barb City on Tap.



    1. The festival was setup at NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb Illinois. This arena has been used for concerts and such in the past so I only assumed it would be on the main floor on concrete, but when we walked in, to my surprise, the ďstationsĒ were setup around the running track above the floor in a big oval.
    2. The layout was horrid. Some breweries didnít have signs pointing out there table, and the ones that did they werenít hung high enough so you could see them over the crowd. Took me forever to find a specific brewery I wanted to try.
    3. 95% of the breweries that were there only were serving 2 different beers.
    4. Probably 90% of the servers were not even from the actual brewery. They were college kids who couldnít poor a sample of beer to save their life. I had them throw so many out because they were full of foam.
    5. There was supposed to be live music. It ended up being a guy banging on some drums in a corner.
    6. There were water stations to rinse your glass, but not enough. It took forever to find one at times, and they werenít marked so you could see them over the crowd.

  2. #2
    Beer Please! SuperModerator
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    I used to go to Festivals, but they all became the same after a while.

    Some of them just feel like an excuse for people to drink a bunch in a very "public" setting...


    Personally I don't drink that much in one sitting these days so I prefer to keep my sessions smaller and with friends.
    Ride Bikes, Drink Craft Beer, Repeat.

  3. #3
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    I get what you mean! I enjoy them still. I did have one last summer where people were really wild and there were fights. Most of them however stay pretty calm. The general craft beer audience are usually not a bunch of drunks.

  4. #4
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    I've had good and bad experiences over the years of festivals. We went to one last summer that mirrored your experience very closely. Although, to add insult to injury, they one had one entrance taking tickets so there was a 45 minute line to get in and the festival was only scheduled for 2 hours. After many of us complained to the organizer they got approval to run for another hour.

    I may attend one a year now, but generally I am more like Klurejr these days.

  5. #5
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    I have been to some good ones.

    One was outdoor with about 100 or more brewers. Got an awesome sample cup and tried lots of different beers. Lines were very short and everyone working the tents was awesome. It was hot as hell, but they had big tunnels that sprayed cool mist and gave out free water.

    Another one I went to was very small. It was actually a homebrew competition, which turned out to be really cool. There were a few really bad ones, but also a few really amazing beers. Just a fun atmosphere overall with each brewer working hard to earn "best in show" or "Crowd Favorite" awards. Met lots of cool people and just felt like a party tent after a while, competitors included. They could have done more about the heat though. No misters or fans or anything and it was really hot and humid.

  6. #6
    whatever she says gueuze.
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    Same here. I've been to dozens of festivals and most have been great. I live in SoCal (Los Angeles to be specific) and most of the better ones have been in the San Diego area, especially the early Pizza Port and Stone ones and the 1st Firestone was awesome. It also seemed like most of the people there were real craft beer fans enjoying some hard to find stuff. As the years go by so does the popularity of craft beer and it just gets way too crowded and crazy, both with frat boy like behavior and an increase in newby beer snobs telling me what's good. We use to go to a local festival in L.A., which was the worst city for craft beer, held at the Sony Studios. It consisted of a bunch of hipsters getting sh*tfaced.

  7. #7
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    ^That's too bad. I definitely prefer more of a low-key atmosphere to just drink beer and chat about stuff. Lucky I've never been to one that devolved into a frat party.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ndinh View Post
    Same here. I've been to dozens of festivals and most have been great. I live in SoCal (Los Angeles to be specific) and most of the better ones have been in the San Diego area, especially the early Pizza Port and Stone ones and the 1st Firestone was awesome. It also seemed like most of the people there were real craft beer fans enjoying some hard to find stuff. As the years go by so does the popularity of craft beer and it just gets way too crowded and crazy, both with frat boy like behavior and an increase in newby beer snobs telling me what's good. We use to go to a local festival in L.A., which was the worst city for craft beer, held at the Sony Studios. It consisted of a bunch of hipsters getting sh*tfaced.
    This is very true. It is becoming more and more popular. The event I talked about in my OP was sold out. That is only the second even sold out that I have ever been to and I usually go to 2 or 3 a summer.

  9. #9
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    I don't do the beer festivals anymore. It's mostly standing in line; you stand in line to get in, stand in line to buy beer tokens/chips, stand in line to get said beer. Plus you're usually in a hot dirty venue. I'd rather just visit a good beer bar, brewery, or growler bar that does a great job picking/brewing excellent beer. I then can enjoy music, drink a full beer or a taster tray in a nice place with service that brings my cold beer to me with a smile. Not to mention real bathrooms.

  10. #10
    passed out in your garden
    Reputation: cmg71's Avatar
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    I dont have a beard, so lm not welcome to drink 'craft' beers

    or ride a Surly
    always mad and usually drunk......

  11. #11
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    Poe4soul; my thoughts exactly. After going to a couple of festivals I decided it would be better to take my ticket-money to my favourite pub/brewery...

  12. #12
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    Hmm. I used to go to beer festivals pretty regularly. Oregon Brewers Festival and GABF were the big ones. While I like trying all the different beers, I get tired of waiting in lines for the "it" beer. I did so many OBF's that eventually it just felt like I grabbed a beer, and got in the next line. Sipped my beer while moving fwd, step by step.. by the time I got to the front, I was ready for the next beer! BUT you have just spent all your time standing in line. Better than Disneyland- at least I had a beer, but not how I want to spend my time.
    Also best to go as early as you can convince your friends to go- the later it gets, the more the crowd become drunken a-hole frat boy wannabes, who do that bizarre howling thing as they destroy brain cells.
    And the bathrooms! OMFG- I'm fine, I'm a dude, but if my wife was along I would just apologize and tell her I have no idea WTF is wrong with men- what do they do- whip it out and spray every surface they can hit? F******* D******bags.

    So yeah, not a lot of impetus to go to any beer festivals anymore.

  13. #13
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    Yeah, I have honestly been really turned off with this last one. I have had a lot of fun at others and thought the experiences were good. I understand where you all are coming from though. It can be quite annoying at times.

  14. #14
    Kitty! Kitty! Kitty!
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    Last one I went to had a line of cars waiting to get in that was out onto the highway....surprisingly roomy though and we set up in the far corner of the venue behind the beer tents. The lines seemed to get long in front of areas where word would get out that the pours were liberal. Bunch of people mixing wine in their beer cups and vice versa. Food and merch had good selections, but parking and heat were big negs. Speaking of beer festivals (and mainly "Oktoberfest"s)...my #1 rule about them is to NEVER attend any event that has a "beer garden"....as this is just a designated drinking area you can not take booze outside of. Lame.

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