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!