For some reason I’ve had “The Final Countdown” by Europe in my head all weekend. Maybe it’s a sign. Hopefully you have it in your head as you read this, and have visions of montages involving persons of unknown heroism overcoming personal strife and growing to unimaginable heights over the course of 2-5 minutes.
Denver Beer Week is officially under way. With dozens of events happening every day, Denver is flowing with beer, and will continue to do so through next weekend. Granted, Denver is generally beer-soaked. This week it’s just extra soaked. Shamwow soaked.
The festival itself is a behemoth of an event. Whether you’re attending one session or all four, there are some tricks to coming out alive. Or at least remembering your experiences.
Two super important rules:
First and foremost, Don’t Drive. Denver has a great public transportation system called RTD. We’ve also got a bunch of taxi services (The area code here is 303. Try all 3′s first – 303-333-3333 – then 7′s, then pick a random number). And a bike rental system. There is so much beer and so many people drinking it that you have zero reason to drive. Don’t do it.
Second, eat. Food helps you stay sober longer, helps you get over hangovers, and helps you enjoy delicious nom noms in Denver. Each session is 4 1/2 hours long. Pace yourself and bring a pretzel necklace. You’ll thank me later.
Third, drink lots of water. Lots. We’re a mile high in the sky here. It’s extremely dry. If you dont touch a drop of alcohol, you should still be drinking about 8 pints of water a day, if not more. Drink a lot of water. A lot.
Get there early if you want to get in at 5:30. If there’s a line when you get there, don’t worry, it moves fast. But it will definitely seem intimidating. The people watching is part of the fun!
If you’re only attending one session, I advise you to get a map, fold it in half, put it in your pocket, and go try some delicious beer. Thursday and Saturday morning sessions are the calmest by far, and if you’re attending these, you can seek out the breweries you’ve been meaning to try. However, if you’re going Friday or Saturday night, your best bet is to find 2-3 of those sought after breweries right off the bat, and then just walk around.
Booths like Dogfish Head and Sam Adams (for their Utopias) tend to get crowded. If you really need that picture with Sam (of Dogfish Head, not Sam Adams. Sam Adams died a long, long time ago. Silly), then sure, go wait in line. Otherwise enjoy the beer. That’s why you’re here!
If you’re attending more than one session, focus on the beers that are likely to run out on your first visit, but still feel free to wander the aisles, trying what sounds good. There are more than 2,200 different beers being served in the festival hall. Since you’re not going to be able try them all, don’t fret.
The festival has a lot more going on than just the beer, too. Head over to the Silent Disco for some moves and some laughs. Check out the Pro-Am competition and taste some beers you’ve never had before, and will most likely never have again. Sit down for a quick talk at the Brewers’ Studio. I think I’ll check out Sour Power there. And definitely stop by the Beer and Food Pavilion to experience the power of brewers and chefs joining forces to excite your taste buds.
There are a bunch of other small excitements throughout the festival, and you’ll definitely see some that will make you laugh between tastes. The bagpipe crew is always a blast.
When the event wraps up at 10pm (4:30 for the afternoon session on Saturday and last call is 15 minutes before closing), downtown is flooded with festival attendees. If you’re still up for a beer, there are plenty of places to go within a few blocks walking distance. And a few different places are open until late for munchies.
Have fun, don’t worry if you lose your friends – they’ll be by the big blue bear - and don’t drive.
And don’t drop your tasting glass, unless you like the spotlight.
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