This is the only seven step program to successful beer drinking. Tomorrow, the Great American Beer Festival, kicks off. To prepare those new to the event for three days of beer extravaganza, Eater asked veteran GABF attendant and beer connoisseur Lia Moran to share her seven tips for success.
1. Eat something before you go. Once you start slinging back suds at GABF, you're not going to think to eat something filling. A string of salty-pretzels is not a meal. Drink water while you're there. You don't want to be "that guy/gal" who gets blackout drunk at one of the greatest events known to man.
2. Calm down and pace yourself - yes, it is so exciting to finally be in the exhibition hall surrounded by thousands of gallons of beer. But in order to enjoy GABF in all its glory, you need to have a plan. I start with the map and pick five or six breweries I've never tried and three or four of my favorites and start tasting away.
3. Be friendly. The brewers love talking to the people who love their beer! Have a question? Now's a great time to ask someone who may have brewed the beer you're tasting.
4. Ditch the swag. You really don't need 60 mini beer bottle keychains or footie pajamas.
5. Be patient. You'll be waiting in a long labyrinth-like line outside the convention center and feel like cattle awaiting slaughter waiting to get into the exhibition hall. Once you're in, you'll have to wait and almost all breweries. Make some new friends. Everyone is here to have a good time.
6. Don't drop your (plastic) tasting cup. Anyone within earshot will openly mock you.
7. Get off the beaten path. Restaurants and breweries are hosting events all week. If you weren't able to get tickets for this year's festival, check out what local breweries are doing. A couple pints down the street from GABF is cheaper than admission.
Great American Beer Festival [Photo: Courtesy of the Great American Beer Festival]