By Daniel Reifsnider
Well folks, it’s that time of the year again. The time of the year when the oak trees decide to go all The Happening on us and only get as far as causing massive allergies. It’s also the time of the year when beer seasons start changing to embrace the warm Texas sun and patio drinking becomes a temp job.
Most importantly, however, is that it’s the time of the year the grand folks out at Real Ale decide to celebrate their brewery birthday, and invite the masses to celebrate with them. And with that in mind, we here at Stay Hoppy decided to do things a little differently and instead of recapping the event, we’re sharing some of the lessons we’ve learned from past years.
- Get there early to avoid lines – When we say masses, we actually mean it. Apparently, Real Ale really does make good beer, and you don’t have to look at their Great American Beer Festival medals to know. Just look at the length of the lines instead.
Actually, on second thought…
- Be prepared for a marathon, not a sprint – Some things are inevitable, and lines at a beer festival are one of them, especially an anniversary party at Real Ale. No matter how early you get there, there’ll probably be a line so just be prepared to wait for all that delicious beer.
- Wear sunscreen – Shade is usually in scarce supply out at Real Ale, and while you might not realize it at the time, other people will for several days after. Do yourself a favor a wear sunscreen…no matter how stubborn you are.
- Pack an umbrella – With a 50-60% chance of rain this Saturday, you’ll probably want something to shield yourself from all the rain that’s likely to happen. Oh and don’t expect to hide under all that shade that isn’t there.
Moderately Important Lessons
- Drink water and eat real food – Again, this is a marathon and not a sprint. Drink water, stay sober, and be sure to get a meal that consists of real food. And by real food, we don’t mean that Chex mix you snuck in, which by the way outside food is not allowed. Why would you want to bring outside food anyway when you can get some from one of these awesome food trucks that’ll be there:
- Wear closed toe shoes – No but really, the terrain out at Real Ale isn’t for those thin Old Navy flip flops you’ve been wearing since high school. Wear some actual shoes since you’ll probably end up passing the porta-potties and heading into the forest to potty instead.
With that said…
- Don’t lose your belongings in the forest – It’s rather simple to do really. You saunter into the forest to find a nice spot on which to pee, only to realize on the walk back those sunglasses on-top of your head are no longer there. Learn from my personal mistake and try not to lose anything when you do end up going in the forest.
Very Important Lessons
- Buy a ticket – This year Real Ale is trying something different as well and requiring people to buy a ticket to their beer extravaganza. While previously a free event, this year the whopping ticket price is a whole $5. You might want to go ahead and tell the kids those Justin Bieber concert tickets will have to wait till next year.
- Know what beer you want before you get up front – Seriously people, this should be a known statement. Spare everyone else in line your spirit of indecision, and make a decision about what beer you want before you get to the front. And with a list as good as this year’s, you really can’t make a bad decision. Can’t make up your mind? Here’s our recommendations for a beer:
- 19th Anniversary Baltic Porter
- Benedictum (can you say gold medal?)
- Codex Triplex
- Scots Gone Wild
- 15th Anniversary Imperial Stout
- For God’s sake more Hans!
With that said…
- Have a backup beer – While there should be plenty of beer to go around this year, something’s bound to be popular so go ahead and have a backup beer ready to order. In fact, have a backup for the backup, because Real Ale didn’t make a thousand kegs of Scots Gone Wild so you’ll probably need another beer to order.
- Bring a chair – You know what the folks at Real Ale are really good at? Making killer beer. So they tend to focus on that instead of providing a nice, soft place to sit your tushie. Be sure to bring a foldable chair, because if you’re one of the thousand people that thinks there’ll be seating available for you, guess what? A thousand other people already think that.
And finally, we like to keep it cheesy here at Stay Hoppy (You Stay Cheesy blog?) so…
- Have a damn good time – You’re at a beer festival for crying out loud. Drink some damn good Texas beer, soak up that nice Texas sun, and have a damn good time.
Check out the event page at Real Ale’s website for the full tap list, food truck info, music schedule, and more.
Also, I’ll be out there slinging beers to the masses, so be sure to say howdy if you see me.