LA Beer Week is finally here! Whether you are planning to hit every event you can get out to, or you are just going to drink a few beers and maybe hit a brewery, we have tips that will help you get the most out of this once-a-year happening!
Our Tips For Enjoying a Beer Festival post is a good place to start as it is full of general advice for getting the most from beer events, and here are six more tips for making sure you have a most excellent (and memorable) LA Beer Week 2012!
Stay Hydrated (and Fed)
Important every day, and even more important during these 10 days of imbibing, tasting, and toasting, hydration is the #1 factory in making sure you can pop out of bed in the morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. A glass of water between pints is the usual rule of thumb, and this method helps you pace your evening and not burn too brightly. We also like to carry a liter of water with us to any of the festival-type events to aid in hydration.
Even though your calorie intake might be bloated for the next 10 days it is important that you don’t cut back on the real food to “make up for it.” LA Beer Week is not the time to start a new diet! We like to carry some small snacks with us to the events; a bag of pretzels or nuts, or even a Cliff Bar can be a real life saver. The benefits of a hearty breakfast cannot be underestimated in this situation, and eggs are a beer-drinker’s super-food. All the afternoon events during LA Beer Week are a great excuse to have a leisurely brunch in preparation, and you know what goes good with brunch? Hefeweizen!
There is a lot going on during LA Beer Week. From festivals to pairing dinners to pint-nights and tap-takeovers you could feasibly be double-booked for all 10 days. You gotta keep all the dates, times, and locations straight some how, so pick a method that works for you and make a list of your “can’t miss” events.
It sounds nerdy, and maybe it is nerdy, but regardless keeping notes on the beers you drink, people you meet, and things you hear about can make a big difference when you’re in a bottle shop looking for “that beer that I had at Union Station.” You don’t have to keep paper notes either; apps like Untappd are built to help you out.
We talked about the importance of Social Media in the craft beer scene in our Smartphone Apps for LA Beer Week post, and Twitter and Facebook are invaluable tools for staying up-to-date on events and even making connections with other craft beer fans!
We like Twitter as the best way to get and share information in real-time. Facebook seems to have more lag and less two-way engagement, though it is still a great way to get information about what is happening and when. Follow the breweries, venues, and personalities of LA Beer Week to always be in the know. You can start by following us and the official LA Beer Week Twitter account, then follow more accounts we they are referenced and re-tweeted.
Pay Attention to Your Limits, But Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
It is all too easy, especially at the big festivals pouring unlimited samples, to over do it. Who wants to stop and drink a bunch of water when the imperial IPAs are flowing like water? But it is important to pay attention to all of your physical limitations, and not just your level of inebriation throughout the week! It promises to be quite warm during LA Beer Week, and you certainly don’t want to suffer heat exhaustion on top of a hangover!
Basically, be smart, listen to your body, and don’t try to do too much. Build some off-days (or at least off evenings) into your Beer Week plan, be flexible if you feel like you need to sit-out one of your planned events, and remember that all the celebrations culminate at the big Union Station event on the 30th. You don’t want to suffer beer-burnout before then!
That said, Beer Week is no time to stick with what you know and love. Experiment! Try different styles of beers, even ones that you historically have not liked. You never know, you might find a new favorite! Don’t just stick exclusively to your favorite haunts; go to some new places and see what you’ve been missing. Most of all, chat with everyone you can! We are all beer fans, and LA Beer Week is a great time to meet new people!
Keep Your Palate Happy
Be mindful of palate fatigue, and be sure to take a beer-break every now and again to give your taste buds and palate a rest. In addition to trying to control the order in which you taste beers (save the hoppiest and heaviest beers for later in the session) you can refresh your palate and restore some of its sensitivity by quaffing some water (sparking water is especially good for palate cleansing) and eating some plain bread or crackers between beers. Beyond water you can try some classic palate refreshers to “reset” the system and get back to tasting:
- A fruit sorbet
- frozen grapes
- lemon slice in water
Slow Down and Enjoy the (Beer) Moment
It is going to be a crazy 10 days, and while you are out celebrating the wonders of craft beer and how far Los Angeles has come in the past 4 years don’t forget to take your time. Slow down and really savor the beers and the people and the amazing city it is all happening in. Remember that beer is about people, and there is a tremendous amount of work, toil, love, passion, and dedication in every drop of craft beer that you’ll be drinking.
Brewers brew because they have the drive to share the beer that is in their mind’s-eye (mind’s-palate?) with people. Restauranteurs and bartenders who care about craft beer serve it because they have a passion for sharing what is in the glass with their customers. Event organizers work to bring the brewers the beer the venues and the fans together because they want to share those experiences with as many people as possible. All these people’s passions for what is really a simple beverage combine to create a close community, and LA Beer Week is a celebration of that community. Realize it or not, if you are drinking the beer then you too are apart of that community.
Maybe you are not passionate about craft beer. Maybe you just want to have some fun with your buddies and drink some brews. You still cannot escape the love and dedication that has put that beer in your glass. So raise up that glass and toast to craft beer in Los Angeles!