You have successfully navigated L.A. Beer Week to this point but the big event looms in front of you. Forthwith is your guide to making the most of your time at Union Station. These are quick bullet points because there are quality beer events I need to get to!
First off, don’t go crazy the night before. If you head into Sunday nursing a headache, you will not have as much fun as possible. May I suggest having some ice cream floats with beer the day before?
Remember that the event is at Union Station and that the 405 will be unpassable. So use the Metro if at all possible. It will make your entire day easier and with much less stress.
Also remember to bring your 12 bottlecaps and/or your completed L.A. Beer Week passport to the event to claim your prize and also to show off to the other people in line. (And if you haven’t heard about the passport or “Caps for Caps”, you will really have to hustle to complete those ale-ventures)
And if you aren’t claiming a spiffy hat then bring your own. The courtyard is open to the sun and you don’t want to get burnt while quaffing your new favorite beer.
Now that you are as fresh as a daisy and stress free as you wait in line for the gates to swing open, it is time to review your objectives for the day. Is there a brewery that you want to try like Ladyface or Monkish? Do you want to taste one style like sours or IPA’s? Have a game plan ready to achieve your goals.
Make sure to take advantage of the water, coconut water and home-brewed soda’s that will be on site. Keep yourself hydrated and your palate cleansed. And make sure you take a break to eat as well and not just the Mignon chocolate (as good as it is) that is available but something from the food trucks or the beer glazed sausages. (Maestro Sausage Company is going to be launching a brand new, sausage pop-up at the LA Beer Week 2012 Festival, with all of the proceeds going to Eat for Real™ charity initiative (part of Real Medicine Foundation).
Pace yourself. There is a time limit but please enjoy the beer in your glass and don’t just shoot it down to make room for the next. Use the time in between beers to Tweet about the festival, tick your beer on Untappd or take photos to show the people who aren’t there that they are missing out.
Check out one of the three breakout sessions that are available. From rare beers to prickly pears to breaking into the craft beer biz, this is a fun (and dare I say educational) way to add even more value to your ticket price.
Lastly, make sure to try at least one (if not more) prickly pear beers. Compare and contrast how one brewery is inspired to make a beer so different from another just because of one signature ingredient.
Lastly, just enjoy the day. Taking a few steps beforehand will make kicking back that much easier.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.