There are a few things that can ruin any festival: tight crowds, long lines for food, volunteers inflated with the power to screw with your day, and boring beer. In a nutshell, this describes many of the major Fiesta events.
But there are some tips and tricks to get around some or all of these annoyances when it comes to enjoying a good beer with good company during the 10-day, confetti-strewn movable party that is Fiesta de San Antonio.
The good news is that Night in Old San Antonio will once again have some decent beer selections. There will still be crowds and long lines, but at the end of the line will be Deschutes Black Butte Porter from Oregon, Leinenkugel’s from Wisconsin, Louisiana’s Abita, and New Belgium Brewing’s Ranger IPA.
This isn’t the first time NIOSA has attempted to achieve a better beer selection, but somehow those efforts had tapered off in recent years.
A personal favorite event is Fiesta Gartenfest at Beethoven Maennerchor biergarten in King William. On the first Wednesday evening of the three-day fest, the volunteers are fresh and friendly, the bands and singers lively, and the crowds tolerable.
Be sure to lay a base of bratwurst and sauerkraut or potato pancakes before hitting the beer. German beers from Spaten, Paulaner, and Warsteiner are the norm, with some occasional changeups each year.
Don’t rush through the beer; sip it so you won’t be caught empty for one of the numerous German drinking songs or toasts the Teutonic peoples are so fond of.
Driving while intoxicated has been in the news plenty of late, even before a suspected drunk driver and previous DWI offender killed San Antonio police officer Stephanie Brown. But anyone who has ever seen a cop drama on television knows that when one of the blue brother/sisterhood is taken out, the stakes are raised.
Cracking down on DWI is now high on the agenda of everyone carrying a badge in the Alamo City and the prosecutors at the District Attorney’s office.
An Express-News article on Sunday painted a possible link between city-sanctioned Fiesta events and April’s higher-than-average DWI fatalities.
Those making a choice to drink better beer with more flavor, however hard that might be to find at Fiesta, have likely matured enough not to walk around with a drunkard’s scepter of plastic cups.
Here’s a rule worth remembering: Keep to no more than one beer per hour on average. Even if you drink more than that because you have a truly sober (not least drunk) designated driver, be sure to have a glass of water in between each drink. Your head will thank you.
Travis E. Poling writes about beer weekly for the Current and is author of Beer Across Texas: A Guide to Brews and Brewmasters of the Lone Star State. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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