Last year I walked into the Toronto Festival of Beer a first timer. Donning bright orange pants and a silk tank, with little research beforehand, I thought by simply having my camera and my festival map on hand I was good to go and ready to conquer the festival. From the moment I walked up to Bandshell Park at Exhibition Place, I knew I was out of my element. Already using my map as a fan to attempt to beat the heat, I was kicking myself for not finding comfort in the jean cutoffs that seemed to be the official festival uniform for women. Already parched from our TTC journey, my sister and I headed straight to the first tap we could set our sights on and began our beer drinking debauchery. Completely overwhelmed by the enormous size of the festival and huge selection of exhibitors, we abandoned all previous thoughts of having a game plan, and stumbled into a manic beer drinking mess. Despite our silly, unorganized, and at times messy first experience, we had the time of our lives bouncing around the festival, trying out some new beers, wasting our drink tickets on ones we had already tried in the past, and making lots of new friends! Now, going on my second year of what I now consider to be one of my favourite festivals in the city, I feel full of beer festival wisdom that I feel is my blogger duty to pass on. So before you stumble into the Toronto Festival of Beer this weekend a naive beer fest goer, make sure to know Tho Do's Of Beer Fest to make sure you have the absolute best beer drinking experience.
- DO - Download the APP! This year the Beer Fest is going paperless, which is not only good for the environment but also for clumsy or careless festival goers who may accidently leave their festival map at one of the pouring stations. Make sure to download your TFOB 2013 APP before hitting the fest here! Not an Android or iPhone user? No worries, here is a map of the fest for you to print out before this weekend!
- DO - Try new beer! Go out of your comfort zone and try a new style or brand of beer you're not familiar with or haven't liked the past, you might learn something new about your taste buds! This is all about having a new experience and trying beers that may be tricky to get ahold of, and don't forget to ask others about what beers you should be trying...if they say Molson Canadian, don't trust their advice!
- DO - Wear light clothes. Don't make the same mistake that I made last year by wearing pants! I spent the whole day shvitzing up a storm!
- DO - Wear comfortable shoes. Honey, put those heels away! This ain't the place! This is an all-day outdoor event with lots of beer and walking on grass. Trust me, you will thank me later.
- DO - Eat lots of food! There are some awesome food exhibitors at the event that you are definitely going to want to try! Not to mention food will certainly help with soaking up all that alcohol. Check out who's exhibiting this year here.
- DO - Drink lots of water! I know you want to get your drunk on, but you don't want to be that person who passes out from all the beer and heat and ruins your friends day...you also don't want to be the person getting sick and getting kicked out. Make sure you locate the water stations immediately upon arriving at the festival. Trust me, they will be your savior!
- Do - Make friends. You're not a kid anymore, so have fun making friends with strangers! Ask them what their favourite beers of the fest have been, you might learn something new!
- DO - Wear and bring sunscreen...especially it you're a redhead! You are going to be outside in mostly uncovered areas all day long in the blazing hot sun. Do yourself a favour and slather on the highest number you can get your hands on.
- DO - Find shelter from the sun in the Grilling Tent. Cool down while you learn about pairing beer with food from some of Toronto's hottest chefs! Check out the schedule here to be sure to catch your favourite chef in action.
- DO - Have a game plan. This is a very large event, so having a general idea of what stands you want to hit will help you to not get overwhelmed. Check out the list of exhibitors to see which breweries sound the most interesting to you.
- DO - Stay up to date on Twitter! Make sure to have a peek at Twitter every now and then and see what beers other guests are tweeting about. Search the hashtag #BeerMe and make sure to tweet your own faves from the event!
- DO - Plan a safe way to get home. This is the absolutely the number one most important tip of the festival. Either take a taxi, the TTC, or have a designated driver pick you up. Don't be an idiot. Don't drink and drive.
- DO - Have fun!....obviously!
Read all about my experience at the festival last year here!
Timber Timbre - Bad Ritual
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