Monday, February 20, 2012

How To Prepare Yourself For 2012 Winter Beer Fest

Written by  Patti Smith
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2012 Winter Beer Festival

It’s coming. Five hours (six if you are an Enthusiast Member). 61 breweries. Over 450 beers. Cold. Ice. Chill. Beer. I’m talking, of course, about the 2012 Winter Beer Fest!!! It seems like we were just in Riverside Park, in the steamy, hot July weather…but here we are! To get you ready for this most excellent event, I present you with my five tips to check yourself before you wreck yourself!
One: Provisions! Hopefully, you live nearby to Fifth Third Ballpark, have a hotel or have a donkey to ride back home. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you get yourself out of the festival safely. Before you get to the festival, layer yourself up because as you know, this is Michigan and if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes, etc. etc. etc. From personal experience, I also suggest bringing an extra pair of socks because sometimes when one has been drinking, one steps in puddles of slush that one might have avoided if one had not been drinking Beer Todd’s Apple Struedel Trippel like one was in the desert and the trippel was coming out of an oasis.

Two: Do your research. Look folks, there is A LOT of beer to be had at this thing. And most of it is pretty high in alcohol. I mean, peep this list! 2012 MBG Winter Beer Fest Beer List

Seriously? That’s A LOT of monkey fightin’ beer in this Monday-to-Friday festival! So read the list and think about the beers. You might want to, as I have in the past, stick with a theme. At last year’s Summer Festival, I focused on pepper beers and smoked beers. Keep in mind that as the day goes on, your brain will start to get a little foggy and you might not clearly remember the beer that you have later in the day, so….

Three: Plan your attack. Make a list and check it twice. Scope out the beers that you want to be sure to try and go there first. Map it out—don’t be shy. It’s not like you’re wandering around Manhattan, staring at the map with your wallet hanging out…you’re at a beer fest filled with friendly people! Make a map and use it often!

Four: Eat, Papa, eat! Words to live by, as spoken by Mrs. Claus to Santa Claus in one of those Rankin-Bass classics. I tend to be very calorie conscious (you would not know this by the size of my thighs, but go with me here) and went to a beer fest on a nearly empty stomach once. Huge mistake. Eat a good breakfast and make sure you eat some carbs while at the festival…there is usually some very good food! While we are on the subject, be sure to drink your water! And look both ways before you cross the street! And call your mother for God’s sake—she gave you life!

Five: Rest. I have napped after every single beer fest that I’ve ever gone to. It is as refreshing as, well, as a beer on a hot summer’s day. Nap and nap without guilt…there are plenty of after parties to attend and you want to be fresh as a daisy!

So go on and have a great time! And if you can’t make it this year (like, sniff, me!), rest easy…just about five more months til the Summer Beer Fest!

Patti Smith

Patti Smith

Patti “TeacherPatti” Smith lives in Ann Arbor with Boyfriend Ken, her dog Buddy and her stepcats Ali and Cyrus. She is a special education teacher by day, local history buff and brew drinker by night (see the hybrid history/beer blog at She also loves watching most Detroit sports on TV, boxing, brewing beer, storytelling, board games and recently wrote a middle grade/YA book that she hopes to convince a publisher to publish! Meantime, she is working on a book about the history of downtown Ann Arbor for Arcadia publishers. Her favorite beer styles include Russian Imperial Stout, pumpkin beers, Kolschs and most things with peppers in them.