Farewell, beer festivals.

At Birreria Volo, one of my favourite bars in Toronto.

I like to drink a beer with minimal people, preferably sitting down, and in a wine glass.

Between 2013 and 2016, I attended nearly 12 beer festivals locally and quasi-internationally that I hate myself for it. Here’s why:

  • Beer festival tickets range from $20 to $100, depending on the type of experience you seek: general admission where you buy your own tokens, or a “VIP” ticket that grants you early access to the brews or guided tours and tastings. At the low end of it, that’s the price you could be paying for 1 pint of beer. Not very good for value.
  • Beer festivals tend to oversell and fill venues beyond capacity, therefore it is a nightmare for people who dislike or get high anxiety in places packed with humans that may carry on extremely boring or annoying conversations while waiting in lines. It’s a madhouse. I once stood in line for 20 minutes to buy beer sample tokens and the girl behind me talked endlessly in a shrill voice about some coworkers. (Why would you bring that into your personal resting time on the weekend?? And afflict other human beings within a meter radius??)
  • Beer festivals tend to hire volunteers or servers who know nothing about beer. They’re there for 4–6 hours at a time just pouring from a tap — uninterested in conversation about the beer or its process. Just token-grabbing, beer-shoving, overworked and underpaid, unhappy folks.
  • Beer festivals want you to keep drinking beer and buying tokens, so there are few places to sit and hold a conversation. Not ideal if you’re a 20-something sedentary folk with poor core strength, does not go to the gym, and needs to sit within 20 minutes of standing.
  • Beer festivals run out of beer, typically the good ones. So you’re left drinking the local, bland, lagers and blonde ales. Could’ve done that for less than $5 and without all these basic bros looming around.
  • Beer festivals now invite large corporate breweries to participate to “keep the lights on” but then why the fuck are we even here for?
  • Beer festivals are prime location to run into ex-partners who hope to run into me and strike up a conversation to size up our lives after each other (read: I’m doing much better without you).

This year I set aside a budget for attending beer festivals but here’s what I’m going to do with it instead:

  • Visit some new local breweries with bottle shops, bring home the bottles, and drink them in my living room with no more than 1 other person.
  • Visit a nice local beer bar that takes pride and seriousness about beer, and sip slow.
  • Brew my own beer.
  • Take cicerone or sommelier classes for beer and gather certifications that would be useless in my day-to-day career but nice to have on the wall as decoration.
  • Find another alcoholic beverage to obsess about, know everything there is to know about it, go to new beverage’s festivals, get tired of them, and write a blog post about why they suck and what I’d rather do.
This is 76.4% more comfortable than a beer festival.