What to eat before a beer festival
- foodscience Feb 13, 2008 06:16 AM
So I'm going to the extreme beer festival in Boston this weekend. What is the best pre-festival food to eat? I don't want to get too full... but I want something to soak up at least some of the alcohol involved.
Anyone have any thoughts?
Where is this extreme festival??? I am both a lover of the extreme and of beer. I always find that if i eat a hearty breakfast, maybe 3 hours before hand, consisting of lots of sausage, eggs, maybe pancakes and toast, just so there is something in your stomach. i could be totally wrong with this though since i am blessed with a very strong stomach so i can eat anything before or after binge drinking.
Its at the Cyclorama in the South End, but its been sold out for quite some time.
To the OP, being a veteran of many festivals in Boston (BA, Beer Summit, Harpoon, etc) - I just typically eat a relatively large lunch earlier in the day and wing it. On a few occasions where they've been noon starts I've rolled in on an empty stomach while already a bit hungover ... that's not a recipe for success.
There is nothing that you can do other than avoid over indulgence. I was at an event that featured:
Troeg's 12th Anniversary Ale
Victory Ten Year's Alt
Brooklyn Cuvee d' Achouffe
Chouffe Brooklynette (la Gnomette II)
Bell's Hopslam Ale
Russian River Pliny the Younger
Two Brothers Hop Juice
Southern tier un*earthly ipa
North Coast Brother Thelonius
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Ale
Blue Point Oatmeal Stout (firkin)
Troegs Nugget Nectar 2006 (cask-conditioned)
Stone 10th Anniversary India Pale Ale
And I ate maybe a dozen wings and an entire pizza BEFORE I had my first beer. We all have different levels of tolerance, but after one 4 oz sample of each beer listed above I was completely messed up.
Well -- that's 64 oz. of beer. Don't beat yourself up '-), that's quite an accomplishment.
I'd recommend eating starchy foods, like taters or pizza. Also, don't forget to eat while @the festival (I am guessing there will be snack food?), and, more importantly: HYDRATE. Drink as much water as possible without having to curb your beer intake...you'll feel so much better the next day.
The particular beer fest the OP mentioned - I find it hard to get all that wobbly. Sure the beers are typically pretty strong but the pours are small, getting extra pours is expensive to the point of annoyance (in terms of "if one wants to consume a lot"), etc. That being said, the brother that put it on seem to go out of their way to cater it to the "respect beer" crowd vs. the "I want to go get wobbly" crowd.
EBF was always my favorite local one until the prices really started shooting up. I loved the variety in what they had - many brewers would bring stuff there that was made specifically for the fest and/or maybe you'd see it come out for general use a long while later (Ommegeddon was at one of the EBFs 3 years ago I think it was). With the other BA fests, they never had enough of a variety that I didn't want to transition from "beer samples" to "get wobbly" and they were prohibitively expensive for that ... and then finally the EBF just got to be more expensive than I was willing to pay.
In terms of local Bostonia, the Beer Summit fests are a better "bit of both worlds". Their selections are never as interesting as the BA fests, the crowd is decidedly much younger and "drinking oriented", but they're a heck of a lot cheaper and once you're in its all you can drink (except for their oktoberfest).
I don't see the difference between the 2 fests. BA is $40 with unlimited 2 oz samples (there are no tickets for samples so cost is fixed), Beer Summit is $35 advance and $40 at the door. As you say the selection is better at BA fest which is why I patronize them. FWIW BA pays the brewers for the beers, not every fest does.
Prices may hit a point where I dont feel its worth it but $40 isn't that point.
Ah, then BA has changed (and I wish I'd known that a month or so ago). They got to a point where they were charging upwards of $4/ticket after your initial batch. Also, my experiences over the years in querying the Alstroms as to how many samples were included w/ the ticket and the cost of extra samples typically led to evasive answers ("you get plenty of samples!" "extra samples are not expensive considering what beers you have access to!"). I eventually just gave up. I'll look at the EBFs again if indeed it is unlimited for that door charge.
I still remember the first fest they had at the Cyclorama. IIRC it was $20ish to get in, you got 10 tickets and tickets were $0.10 ea after that (and in reality, no one was collecting them and people were giving them away so it was really $20 for the whole session). Them's were the days.
One thing w/ Beer Summit is they do have group discounts - up until this last one it was even a 20% discount for groups of 20+ (which we always have), but now its just the 10% for 10+.
I gave up on Harpoon a *long* time ago, but recently have been getting free passes - which led a few of my friends & I to brave it. At that point its basically the same cost at drinking at a bar, its a change of scenery, and the instant it starts getting annoying we leave and go somewhere else.
Back when BA was doing the ticket thing, it was like $20 - $30 to get in and you got 10 drink tickets. Extra tickets were $1 each. Sample sizes were 4oz. minimum - I saw alot of pours that were to the top of the glass - about 6oz. $1 for a 4oz. sample is in line with what you would pay at a bar....for swill. How many samples do you need to drink of 8 - 15% abv beer in a 3.5 hr period anyway? If getting wobbly is your goal, you're not the audience this fest is trying to reach, just stay home with a bottle of vodka - it would be much cheaper.
I would rather pay more for quality beers and a quality crowd who for the most part is not there to drink as much as they can - the higher prices are keeping the riff-raff away - that's a plus in my book. I am also willing to pay more to ensure that brewers are compensated for the beer they supply and not charged a fee to participate. Some other fests are making huge profits on the backs of brewers who are barely surviving. Unfortunately, not only is Beer Summit known to charge brewers to supply free kegs, they have also been breaking state law with their unlimited samples that are more than 2 ozs. each -at least the was the case when I used to go to Beer Summit fests.
Now the BA EBF is $40 with unlimited (until you appear intoxicated anyway) 2 oz. samples. You will NOT find the selection of beers available at this year's EBF at any other place in the world at one time and one place.
There were definitely BA fests where the tickets were 3-4$ each - I remember that as being the point when a lot of my friends ceased wanting to go.
Now that I know that EBF is unlimited at that rate, I'd go back, because the EBF has always been my favorite of the local festivals for just the reason you state (lots of very unique items). Obviously I'm not going to *this* one, but there's always next year :)
The bit about the state law is interesting - the most recent one, the pours were a lot smaller (2oz sounds correct) but they did away with any pretense of not being unlimited (in the past they'd have pseudo-tickets, tickets that no one collected except for the couple booths in the sightline of the cops, etc). I'm guessing that that's why the change happened.
As for my motives - I go to these things with dual motives. At first I go around and try things that I've not seen before and/or know that I really dig and just don't have an opportunity to regularly get. When that's done, with the remaining time left, I intend to "get my money's worth" so to speak. With the EBF there's always so many cool things though that I never really hit that stage - in fact quite the opposite, I never managed to hit everything that I wanted.
5 years sounds about right. I think 2003 was the first year. There was the oktoberfest/belgian in fall 2003 that would likely be different (I think that might have been full pour, a la Beer Summit's Oktoberfest). I went to everything in '03 & '04, and started picking and choosing by '05, and haven't gone to any for the last year and a half.
Either way, now that I know its not $40 *and* drink tickets, I'm more inclined to go, triply so for next year's EBF.
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