On June 1st and 2nd, the American Craft Beer Festival was held in Boston. I was there, as part of my journalistic duties. It was difficult for me, but I hung in there because you, the ManCave reader, deserve clear and accurate reporting of what it’s like to be packed into a room full of soaked drunks.
Along the way, I learned some important things.
#5) It Will Be Crowded
I arrived reasonably early for the 1 p.m. opening of the festivities only to discover the line was halfway down the bridge that goes straight to the Convention Center where this was held. So I got in line with friends, and waited. About five minutes later, I noticed that the line had extended across the entire bridge and had snaked out of my field of vision behind a building about a hundred yards away.
And these were people with tickets.
#4) No Matter How Hard You Try Or How Much You Plan, You Will Miss Breweries You Want to Try
Imagine walking into a fantasy world of free beer. All you have to do is walk up to a table, and you get a free beer.
Now imagine there are 100 tables, and about two or three thousand people all trying to get at this magical free beer. And you’ve only got three and a half hours to try all the breweries.
Also, your own body is working against you, because…
#3) You Will Get Drunk, and Fast
There’s no way to avoid it. When you come in, you’re issued a two-ounce tasting cup, so for every six cups you drink, that’s about a beer.
At least until you get to, say, the Uinta Labyrinth, which is 9.2% ABV, or Stone’s Double Bastard, which is 10%, and those aren’t even the most intense beers, alcohol-wise, available at the show. There were quadrupels and quad IPAs at this shot. Two ounces of those are essentially the equivalent of doing a shot.
Also, there’s no way to track how many servings you have. There just isn’t. You are going to lose track, and furthermore, you’re going to lose track probably around that point in alcohol consumption where you think consuming more alcohol is an awesome idea.
The good news is that you won’t be able to go down the terrifying hole of brain-splitting hangovers, because it’s crowded, so you’ll have to wait in line to get your small cups of beer.
#2) You Will Probably Drunkenly Join a Case Club
I’d love to pull a Jamie Foxx and blame it on the alcohol, because it was two and a half hours in by this point, and I’d easily put away at least ten or twenty booths worth of beer tastings. But I wound up going back to one booth, specifically Cody Brewing, three times to try three different beers. And really, when you try three beers and immediately want cases of all of them, that’s usually a good sign that they’re a good brewery.
On the other hand, I did drop three hundred bucks on a case of the month club.
#1) Around the Hour Mark, People Will Start Randomly Wooing For No Reason, and It’ll Spread Across the Convention Center Like a Virus
Really, it’s to be expected: it’s a room packed full of beer geeks, frat boys, and their girlfriends. Frat boys will woo at a moment’s notice dead sober on a Monday morning, let alone tipsy on a Saturday afternoon. Beer geeks are probably less woo-prone, as a group, but, then again, they get rapidly tipsy and they’re in their paradise, so: yeah, they’ll woo.
It just won’t be for any particular reason. There’s no sports game on, as there are no TVs in the place. There’s no bar sports being played live, as those are strictly banned by the buzzkill blue laws in the state of Massachusetts–a state that only a few years ago realized that it was the twenty-first century, and the Puritans who wrote the state’s laws on booze are all dead, and started changing them (the laws, not the corpses).
And it’s not like they’re making any serious beer related announcement. This isn’t beer’s version of E3. It’s not like they’re drafting beers into a league. People just get happy-drunk and start wooing.
Well, it beats starting bar-fights.
When sober, he counsels gentlemen on How to Subtly Annoy Your Boss. –>