There is something very special about beer festivals that makes you wish you lived in a world of only beer festivals – after all – Great People Drink Great Beer! So, in order to ensure you get the most out of your beer festival experience, we’ve put together 10 suggestions for how you can ‘carpe beerum’ (seize the beer).


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  • Come with an open mind – but not like how surgeons open your mind

    Because the equipment used to make beer in craft breweries is pretty much the same, brewers have to go out of their way to stand out in the ever expanding craft beer market. Sometimes, they’ll try something truly out there, with ingredients like beard yeast, goat brain yeast, and even dinosaur bone yeast to create a beer – but for the most part, their explorations utilize more common food sources. Regardless, keep an open mind, try new beers, and respect the beers even if they aren’t quite your style. Every year people come either thinking they already know what beers they like or that they don’t like beer at all (that second group is what we like to call ‘wrong’) – but those that come with an open mind often find a new favorite and have a great time in the process!

  • Expect to make friends – or at least hopefully make friend

    There is something special about the atmosphere and sense of community at a beer festival – and that has a lot to do with the type of people who attend. Most beer festivalians are good, relaxed people who are there to have a fun time. Beer festivals inevitably have lines – but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Chat someone up while you are in line for the washroom or start talking to the guy beside you in line while you wait for a sample – it can turn a wait into yet one more fun element.

  • Be like a Jedi Batman hybrid by knowing all the tricks of the festival

    Every festival has certain tricks that can save you time. Here are some of the most helpful things to know about the Calgary International Beerfest:

    1. Washrooms – there are extra washrooms inside the Corral (on both sides) and hardly anyone ever uses them.
    2. Entrances – there are 2 entrances to the festival – Hall E and through the Corral (this is where the coat check is too) – head to the one that gets you inside fastest.
    3. Sample Tokens – there are sample token areas at both entrances, but you can also purchase sample tokens at the booth in the back of Hall C as well as from the roaming token sellers. Remember, only buy the number of tokens you think you will use – you can always buy more later.
    4. Seminars – The Cooking with Beer Seminars, the Brew Master Seminars and the all new craft distilleries seminars are popular and fill up fast – make sure you get there early so you don’t miss out.
  • It’s like online dating, but instead of people, you pair your beer samples with food samples

    Every good beer festival will have a variety of different foods you can sample from – and we are proud to say that this year we have 35+ amazing restaurants/pubs/eateries to enjoy! Take the time to seek out foods that will complement the different beers you are trying. The right food with the right beer will enhance the tastes of both. Another good idea is to ingest your beer and food with equal parts water so you can enjoy the festival longer. All beer and food can be sampled by first purchasing sample tokens. Sample tokens are $1 and sold in sheets of ten. Each sample is a minimum of 2 tokens and a sample of beer is legally 4oz

  • Know what makes the event special – but not special like your cousin Tim who ate bugs as a kid

    Every beer festival has something special about it. Going to the Great British Beer Festival in London on the first day? Keep an eye out for the Cornish ‘band’ from Skinner’s Brewing who make quite the entrance: dressed in kilts, drumming on pails, and singing Cornish folk songs! The Calgary International Beerfest has things like the ATB Financial Beer University, our Social Media Lounge (Use our hashtag #yycbeerfest and be entered to win some great prizes including a pile of gift cards to our participating restaurants!), Brew Master Seminars, Cooking with Beer Seminars, Craft Distillery Seminars, over 500 beers to sample, 35+ restaurants to sample, and so much more!

  • Don’t be awesome by accident – come with a plan!

    What do you want to get out of the event? Do you want to find a new favorite beer, sample from a style you already enjoy, try only things new to your area? One general beer strategy is to go from light beer to dark beer – though that isn’t always possible at a festival where you are travelling from booth to booth. Still, you can help your tastings by putting a little effort into your beer choices. For instance, don’t start with a really hoppy beer or you won’t be able to taste anything but hops for the rest of the day.

  • Your great aunt Edna’s ‘mystery soup’ is for drinking as fast as possible (she’s old, so you have to be nice) – It’s different with beer.

    Take your time and taste the beers you are sampling. A beer festival isn’t supposed to be a race; consider it a beer journey. Really taste the beers you are sampling – and if you enjoy them, save them in the Festival’s official app JustBeer (read more below) or if you’re Old School take a picture with your phone or text the name to a buddy so you can remember to pick some up after the event and support the brewery that has helped make the festival possible by attending.

  • Since robots are probably going to take over the world soon – you should download the JustBeer APP now and get the most out of life while you still can! –

    We are excited to have the JustBeer APP as our partner APP for all ABF festivals! Having the APP will mean you have access to the map, push notifications of everything going on at the festival, check out schedules, keep track of your favorite beers and food, take the ATB Financial Beer University MBA (Masters of Beer Appreciation) quiz, plus so much more. Check it out justbeerapp.com

  • We don’t care if you travel on a unicycle pulled by 3 beavers and squirrel – just make sure you plan your ride home

    Of course, the most important thing you can do in your beer festival planning is make sure you get home safe. Most festivals have websites that can direct you to transit, cab companies, etc. Make a plan to get home before you even step foot out of your house. The Calgary International Beerfest is held on Stampede Park, which means easy access to the C-Train. We have also paired up with Keys Please Driving Service and Mayfair Taxi to have them on site, so there are no excuses when it comes to getting home responsibly.

  • You should know stuff – be a two legged talking Wikipedia about the Who, What, When, and Where of the festival

    Important details are listed below – but for additional information, including the map, seminar schedules, and more, we have it all here.

    • LOCATION – BMO Centre, Halls A-E – 20 Roundup Way, Calgary AB
    • BEER GEEK VIP ADMISSION
      • Friday: Doors @ 2:30pm Sampling @ 3:00pm
      • Saturday: Doors @ 12:30pm Sampling @ 1:00pm
    • GENERAL ADMISSION
      • Friday: Doors @ 4:00pm
      • Saturday: Doors @ 2:00pm
    • LAST TOKEN SOLD
      • Friday @ 9:15pm
      • Saturday @ 8:15pm
    • LAST BEER POUR
      • Friday @ 9:30pm
      • Saturday @ 8:30pm
    • LAST FOOD SERVED & BEER CONSUMED
      • Friday @ 10:00pm
      • Saturday @9:00pm
    • NO ENTRY AFTER:
      • Friday @ 9:00pm
      • Saturday @ 8:00pm

The Calgary International Beerfest starts on Friday May 5th, and ends on Saturday May 6th at the BMO Centre on Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. For more information, go to The Alberta Beer Festivals website and see what all the fuss is about!


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