The 25th annual Great Canadian Beer Festival will be held at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria this coming Friday and Saturday.
Whether this is your first time attending the festival, or even your 25th, these tips are sure to make your experience a lot smoother and much more enjoyable.
1. Eat a good brunch
You are going to be drinking for a good five hours. Make sure you have a solid meal before you head down to the field. There will be tons of food options at the venue, but you really want to line your stomach ahead of time, then top up with tasty food truck grub.
2. Have your e-tickets and ID ready
Good news! Ticket Rocket will be scanning tickets off of phone this year, so there’s no need to print your tickets off and waste paper. Make sure to have your e-tickets ready though, so you don’t have to hunt through the dozens of spam emails on your phone and hold everyone else up.
Also, make sure to bring two pieces of ID. It sounds like an obvious thing to remember, but you’d be surprised.
3. Take lots of cash
Beer tokens and food can only be purchased with cash. They don’t have the ability to take credit cards. There are ATMs on site, but do you really feel like lining up to get in, then lining up to get money, then lining up to get tokens, then lining up to get beer?
I cannot stress this one enough. Make sure to take an empty water bottle with you to fill at the hydrate centre, then take a good chug of water after each beer. It’s going to be a hot day and you are going to get very dehydrated if you plan to hit a lot of booths.
5. Make a list of the beers you want to try
There is going to be a huge amount of beer to try at the festival and if you wander around without a plan, you are going to be lost. Make sure to check out the GCBF site and make a list of the beers you want to try and where to find them.
6. Hit your “must haves” first
The temptation is always to save the best to last, but seasoned pros know that the last half an hour or so of the festival is basically people lining up for any beer that is still pouring. If you haven’t had your “must have” beers by this point, then you are pretty much out of luck.
7. Arrange a meeting place
It’s incredibly easy to lose your friends in the packed field. Take your eyes off them for one second and they will be gone and you will never, ever find them again. Make sure to pre-arrange a meeting place in case you lose them.
8. Get your friends’ phone numbers
When you lose your friends, you are going to want a way to get in contact with them. I’d recommend text messaging / calling over Facebook messenger and the like. However, if you do need to message them, the venue will have free WiFi sponsored by Tesseract Computers.
9. Take Hand Sanitizer
Have you ever used a porta potty after someone who has drunk a lot of beer? That’s all I’m saying here.
10. Plan your route home beforehand
After five hours of drinking in the sun, you are going to want to want to have an exit strategy in place. Whether you are going to an after-party or going home to collapse into bed, you should plan your transit route before drinking, otherwise you will be fighting for a taxi.
Oh, and this should go without saying, don’t drink and drive!