I’ve always said that if I could only go to Atlantic City one day a year, it would be for the Atlantic City Beerfest. And, with my growing family, it perhaps might be the true for 2019. This was my fourth time in five years going to the Beerfest, and I am running out of ways to sing its praises. I’ve recounted my favorite Beerfest moments, I’ve given advice for Beerfest beginners, and I’ve…written whatever this was. This year, however, it felt different. In almost every other year, I felt like I was missing out on something. I was craving more. In 2019, however, something changed. I felt…satisfied. I felt…comfortable. The Beerfest wasn’t the madcap chase for beer samples and brewery stickers. It felt like visiting an old friend. Some breweries were the same, some had changed, but it was still the same Beerfest I knew and loved. So, rather than give advice, or recap wild antics, here’s just some beautifully blurry photos from this year’s activities.
This year’s featured activity was Beerfest Bingo. While I was successful in get my bingo ticket fully punched, I must confess: I didn’t finish every sample. Sorry purists, I hate me, too.
This year’s companion was Keith, of the legendarily inactive blog Rainmansuite.com. Say hi, Keith!
Here’s a small smattering of the other Beerfest offerings in 2019: free pinball, beerpong with garbage cans, and a comedian roasting people as they went to the bathroom. The only one we didn’t participate in was the giant beerpong – remind me in 12 months.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be Beerfest without the beers. It was a top notch performance by every brewery this year (yes, even you, one non-alcoholic brewery this year that was fighting the good fight). As there are no further Atlantic City trips on my radar, the Beerfest did its job, and I got to leave on a high note. The countdown to 2020 begins….now.
Oh, god. It’s been a long time.
Back in 2016, I uprooted my life in Brooklyn, and plunked down my hard-earned savings on a house in central New Jersey. Sure, I told my friends and family that it was time to grow up, be a responsible homeowner, think about the family, etc.. But, deep down, I think they all knew my true motivations: to satisfy my gambling needs.
The first year, however, it was difficult. Between the costs of moving and various other travel obligations (weddings and whatnot), I only made it to Atlantic City twice. But, in 2018, I was determined to make my mark known.
So, in the last few months, I’ve been to Atlantic City thrice. But, why no diary entries? Well, these trips were very short in nature – getting there for dinner, drinking heavily, and driving back bleary-eyed the next morning. There were no concerts or beerfests anchoring these trips: just roughly 12 hours of debauchery.
But, no matter how many times I go to Atlantic City (and by my count, that’s 26 times in the last six years, and god knows how much before that), there’s always something new I learn. So, without further ado-do, here’s three tips from three trips to AC!
1. Check In Late!
Back in March, the wifefriend and I took a trip on a random Friday night, where we were blessed by the Roman gods with a free room at Caesar’s. Unfortunately, due to work schedules, we ended up rolling it at 11:30PM. However, upon checking in, we were offered a free suite upgrade. Now, full-disclosure: I don’t work for Caesar’s, nor have bothered doing any research, but I am a guy with a blog. So, I have to assume that if you arrive late enough, they’ll give you whatever open rooms they have, for free! I haven’t tried it since this trip, but it is something to keep in mind.
(The downside of arriving so late is that we crammed six hours of boozing into roughly 28 minutes. And, as far as I know, that can be most easily accomplished at the Mountain Bar at Wild Wild West.)
(Pro-tip: if you are planning to play beerpong at the Wild Wild West, bring your own ping pong balls. Cheap beer, even cheaper balls. It was like tossing a marshmallow.)
2. Order Extra Towels!
In June, the boys were back in town, as I was joined by AC Diary Hall-Of-Famers OB and Keith. Going down apropos of nothing, it was yet another night of drunken debauchery. Unfortunately, we had a surprise waiting for us in the morning.
Being the early riser that I am, I headed to the bathroom at 7AM to cast away last night’s sins. Unfortunately (yet unsurprisingly given the company I was with), there was a strange liquid hovering around my feet. I flushed the toilet and got the hell out of there and back to bed.
But I still heard the toilet. Running. Rising.
Yes, it finally happened: we killed a toilet. There was talk of a monstrous bowel movement clogging the bowl’s movement, but I blame Neptune for this mishap. The staff at Caesar’s took their sweet time helping us out of the situation, dumping a handful of towels on the problem as it seeped into the hallway.
So yeah, when you get to your room, order some towels. Even if you don’t clog the toilet, at least you can use them to build a little fort.
3. Drink on the Boardwalk!
This month, the crew (the wifefriend, the Hall-of-Famers, and others) took a trip to visit the Hard Rock Casino. That place is definitely worthy of its own entry, and it will be coming in due time. However, the spotlight that night belonged to the Bally’s Boardwalk Beach Bar. After getting dinner and gambling a bit at Hard Rock, my wife and I stumbled back down the historic AC Boardwalk. Hearing some fun dance music wafting from the sea, we were lured into the Bally’s Boardwalk Beach Bar. Once there, we ordered $15 novelty glasses filled with some sort of alcoholic concoction that was basically a Men In Black mind eraser in liquid form. We drank, we danced, we ate $1 hot dogs from some place on the boardwalk, and we (accidentally) ordered $80 mozzarella sticks from room service.
I’ve always been a strong proponent of getting out of the casinos and exploring the boardwalk. And drinking on the boardwalk is like drinking in the casinos, except the air smells bad and there’s a hint of danger!
So, three trips, and three new lessons learned. But the real moral of the story is this: no matter how many times you go to AC, there’s always going to be something strange that you didn’t prepare for. Will you get the room upgrade, or the clogged toilet? It’s the lady-or-the-tiger of South Jersey.
For more tips on doing AC right, check out this ancient post. Remember “Do AC”? Those were the days.
This past weekend, I went down to the Atlantic City Beer (and Music) Festival at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The 2015 Beerfest was my rookie experience, and it was the highlight of my
life year springtime (I did get married after all). If you check out last year’s recap, you’ll see I listed the top six things about Beerfest. After a year of hype, I am happy to report that the beerfest remains relatively unchanged. It was still the quickest four hours you’ll ever spend in Atlantic City, with great music, great people, and great beer. There isn’t much more I can add on what’s great about it, so this year I’ll give you a guide on how to best enjoy the beerfest.
Dress for success. Whether going to a job interview, or going to a beerfest, the way you look will determine how far you get. Some people treat the event like Comic-Con, and dress up in full costumes. Personally, I prefer a simple festive shirt. This year, my group went in coordinated t-shirts for my mother’s birthday (yes, my 64-year-young mother attended her first beerfest). Even if you don’t want to go that far, I’d suggest wearing something that is in the deep end of your closet. Don’t make it a casual Friday, make it a beerfest!
Accessorize. As you can see, my shirt wasn’t enough. With the help of swag from different breweries, I gave my shirt it’s own unique, um, let’s call it “style”. Remember: stickers are a drunk’s best friend. Approach pins with great caution.
Pretzel. Necklaces. On the car ride down, my crafty wife concocted pretzel necklaces for the entire crew. The pretzel necklace is like a Halloween costume – you originally feel silly putting it on, but once you get to the party, it is essential. The pretzels will be the source of your life force throughout the night. Don’t be a bum that buys it at the convention – make the pretzel necklace your own. Some people even personalize theirs, adding candies and even bagels to the necklace.
Keep track of your drinking. As you can see, I put this t-shirt to work, tallying my drink intake on the back. When the night seems a little fuzzy, you can just look at the back of your shirt for the reason why. I preferred having the brewers check it off – it was definitely a conversation starter.
Take a breather, drink water, and see the sights. If there’s one trap most people will fall into at the beerfest, it is drinking too much beer. There’s plenty of fun things to do there, whether you are looking for a fashionable new kilt, trying to work your yoga, or want to get a picture with the Batmobile. Your liver will thank you the next day.
Talk to the little guys. It seems that every year, the big breweries have big lines. You can get those any time of year. But, how many times can you try beer from the Pinelands Brewery or the Alpine Beer Company? There’s something I love about just seeing a simple booth with two guys and a cooler. While the quality at microbrews can be a gamble, you can bet that they’ll generally have a higher ABV.
The more the merrier. Last year, it was just me and long-time ACer OB. This year, the group had exploded to seven. There’s nothing like four hours of drinking with your friends and family. But….
Keep track of your crew. I thought going with more people this year would make it easier to find everyone. That was not the case. For the last 20 minutes of the beerfest, my phone was dead and I was completely lost. After the beerfest, I stumbled into a local Applebee’s and asked the manager for the phone. Shockingly enough, this man saw a drunk guy covered in stickers and thought, “Of course this man should use our phone.” I dialed as many cell phone numbers as I could remember until reaching a member of my crew. If it weren’t for that disturbingly helpful Applebee’s employee, I might still be lost in Atlantic City. So, I would set check-in times/locations prior to the beerfest with your friends.
Go to two sessions. Does it sound dangerous? Absolutely. But, you really can’t do it all in one session. I feel like, even after four hours, I just scratched the surface of what the beerfest had to offer. I didn’t even ride on a toilet or throw a football at a stripper! I’m itching to go back for more. So, my current game plan is to try out going to TWO sessions next year. Am I crazy? You bet. Will I live up to my word? Eh, we’ll see.
Keep this article flagged, my Atlantic City loving functional alcoholics, and I’ll see you next year!