One of the biggest beer events in Cleveland is the Cleveland Winter Beerfest. Located at the Huntington Convention Center downtown, the event has over 300 different beers from over 120 breweries. The event raises funds to benefit the Music Education Society and their mission to support music programs in underfunded schools. There are breweries from all over the place at this event, not just from Ohio. The convention center is the perfect location for such a big event, as it never feels super crowded because everything is so spread out.
There’s a couple different options for both Friday and Saturday. They offer early admission tickets that get you in a hour earlier than the normies, and there’s also the Connoisseurs Reception tickets which get you special amenities such as: a separate admission gate, special glasses, access into a reception area with specialty connoisseur-only beers, and appetizer bites from local restaurants. We always buy the regular admission tickets but this time we lucked out with connoisseur tickets. In order to survive a beer fest you need a plan, and we’re here to help you figure out what that plan should be.
First, you need to hydrate the day of. Better yet, the couple days beforehand as well. We try and stay hydrated every day by carrying a water bottle with us and drink extra water on beer fest days. You should also have a Pedialyte and pop a few charcoal pills too.
This is just as important as hydrating. Eat a big meal before heading into the fest. We don’t want to hear your lame excuses like, “but I’ll be too full for beer.” If you go in on an empty stomach, you won’t make it too long.
This should be a no-brainer but don’t pre-game or drink before the beer fest. At this beer fest, you get 25 samples for your 5 oz glass. That’s plenty o’ drinks. You don’t want to be “that drunk person” at one of these things. Plus, you already paid a decent amount of money to get there, better get that money’s worth.
MAP OUT THE PLACE
When you get there, if there’s a map take a look and figure out a game plan. Or if there’s no map, take a walk around and figure out which booths you HAVE to stop at. You don’t want to waste all your tickets (and time) on the first few booths.
Ask for half pours! You may scoff at that idea but it’s what we do especially when it’s a new beer we know nothing about. You can always go back and get more if you really like it. This will help ensure that you get to try as many beers as possible.
Try new beers you normally wouldn’t try. If you only drink IPAs, try a sour or two. Now is the time to try something new so you don’t have to waste money on buying a six-pack or a pint at a bar.
Most beer fests have water stations so take advantage and drink water between samples.
DON’T HOLD UP THE LINES
For most of the big beer fests they have volunteers to pour the beers. The volunteers are not reps from the breweries so they probably don’t have any expert intel on the beer you’re drinking. If there is a rep there, step off to the side to chat with them, they’d be happy to do so.
Wear a cheesy pretzel necklace so you can snack throughout the fest. Also grab some snacks from a food vendor (normally food isn’t included in your ticket price so bring cash) or eat after (now is the time for Taco Bell). You’ll want some food to soak up all that beer.
Most beerfests last around four hours. If you stayed the whole time (go you!) then you should probably head home in order to avoid feeling crappy the next day.
Now that you know our secrets for surviving a beerfest, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for when tickets come out for the summer beerfest. You can get them here when they are available. Hope to see you there!