Imbibers will soon convene at the 16th Annual San Antonio Beer Festival to sample 400-plus craft and premium beers from more than 150 local, regional and international breweries.
As those numbers suggest, there will be plenty of malty deliciousness in which to imbibe as the day-long event unfolds on Saturday, Oct. 15 at historic Crockett Park.
A daunting amount of malty deliciousness, in fact. Especially for a first timer.
That's why we tapped some of San Antonio's best-known brewers and beer experts, all veterans of the fest, to offer their sage advice. They've got the goods about getting the most out of the gathering, avoiding that deer-in-the-headlights feeling and — perhaps most importantly — avoiding the hangover from hell.
A recurring theme emerged: stay hydrated and remember that Beer Fest is a marathon, not a sprint.
Head brewer, Weathered Souls Brewing
Six-year San Antonio Beer Festival veteran
Do be courteous to other attendees. No one likes a Debbie Downer or an asshat. Beer is something to bring people together and build friendships, so let's enjoy all this amazing beer together.
Do hydrate properly so you can sample as many great SA beers as possible.
Do try as many local breweries as you can. We all have our favorites, but you never know what you might discover or what your palate will enjoy.
Don't arrive on an empty stomach. Food is key to Beer Fest survival. Small bites and snacks at the festival will keep you from overindulging.
Don't speak negatively to brewery employees. Brewers and servers are as excited to serve one-of-a-kind products as you are to try them. Support our local beer community and show love.
Owner and head brewer, Second Pitch Beer Co.
Four-year San Antonio Beer Festival veteran
Do talk to the brewers and owners about their beer. It's their life's work and their passion, so they'll be happy to discuss all things beer. Introduce yourself and say, "Hi!"
Do get rid of a sample if you don't care for it. Not all samples need to be consumed.
Don't wave a cup or snap at the person pouring. We're happy to help, but we aren't servants.
Don't say, "Whatever has the most alcohol," when making a sample selection. It's a 21-and-over event, so we all left high school behind.
Don't wear sandals.
Owner, Roadmap Brewing Co.
Five-year San Antonio Beer Festival veteran
Do try beers you wouldn't normally order.
Do drink water. It's a marathon not a sprint.
Do use rideshare.
Do wear pretzel necklaces.
Don't drink the same thing twice.
Don't simply go for the highest alcohol beers you see.
Don't forget to check the weather. It's been sunny, rainy, muddy and scorching hot for past festivals. It's always a good time if you are prepared.
Author, Celis Beer: Born in Belgium, Brewed in Texas and Pearl: A History of San Antonio's Iconic Beer
11-year San Antonio Beer Festival veteran
Do lay a base. Get some food in your belly to soak up that beer.
Do be kind to other attendees. Everyone else is trying to have a good time too.
Don't be a dick. Period.
Don't lose sight of why you're there. Relax and have fun.
Don't forget to be nice to those pouring your beer and thank them.
Organizer, San Antonio Beer Festival
15-year SA Beer Festival veteran
Do plan your beer hit list. Pros don't come to the festival blind; they visit the event website and pick out their must-try selections so they don't risk missing out on their favorites.
Do pace yourself. After every beer or two, grab some water or tasty eats from one of our many food booths. Your body will thank you.
Do use rideshare. Parking downtown is a pain in the ass, so it's worth it to splurge for a ride. You'll also guarantee yourself a safe ride home while avoiding the parking frustration.
Do enjoy yourself. We know you're here for the beer, but there's also music, games and giveaways as well as entertaining sponsor and vendor activations. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, so feel free to grab yourself a shady spot with friends and just relax. You deserve it.
Don't rush to the VIP section if you're a VIP ticketholder. Try all the beers you want in the general admission area first, then head to VIP once general admission opens.
Don't come unprepared. This is a 21-and-up event, so pack that ID and plan to flash it at entry. Also remember to check the weather to determine whether you'll need sunscreen or an umbrella. Having the necessary equipment could make all the difference.
Don't arrive without good vibes in tow. The San Antonio Beer Festival is designed to bring the beer community together and celebrate all the hops and malts that we love, so leave any drama or bad vibes at home.
Don't arrive late. "Fashionably late" isn't a thing at this event. If you're expecting to roll into the festival at 5:30 p.m. and get the full experience, you'll be disappointed. Beer will run out.
San Antonio Beer Festival, $44-$55 (VIP tickets sold out), noon-6:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15, Crockett Park, 1300 N. Main Ave., sanantoniobeerfestival.com.
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