We’ve just added this as a new page to the Brewfest website (under “Tips”) but this is such useful information I think it’s worth highlighting on the blog to make sure more people see it.  Please forward this to everyone you know going to the MCBF as it will make sure everything goes smoothly for everyone.  Thanks.

Buy your tickets early.

The Magic City Brewfest is likely to sell out so buy your tickets early to ensure that you can attend.


Drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. You should eat before and during the fest. A large carbohydrate-filled meal works best. Eating slows down the absorption of alcohol by your system and will help you avoid inebriation.

Designate a driver.

With so many beers to taste and so little time, make sure you have a safe option for getting home. Bring a non-drinking friend to do the driving or plan on taking a taxi or other public transportation.

Drink responsibly.

There’s a reason the Magic City Brewfest requires all participants to use a small sampling glass provided at entry: so that attendees can enjoy a number of samples of a variety of styles of beer responsibly. Don’t try to sample every beer at the festival, but rather pick some you’re interested in or have never tried before that you’d like to taste. The Magic City Brewfest encourages responsible drinking and will refuse alcohol to individuals who are obviously intoxicated. For the safety of yourself and others, know your limit and refrain from overindulging.

Respect the two ounce pour rule.

Samples at the Magic City Brewfest are given in two ounce pours and only in the tasting glass provided at entry. This is a festival and ABC board policy. Do not ask for more than two ounces per sample and do not ask for a beer sample in any container other than the official Magic City Brewfest tasting glass.

Drink lots of Water.

Drinking alcohol dehydrates your body which can make you feel pretty bad. Drink lots of water to help detoxify and keep you hydrated. The Magic City Brewfest will have water on hand, but it’s not a bad idea to bring your own refillable (non-glass) water container (this also cuts down on the amount of plastic going into our landfills).

Appreciate the beer you’re drinking.

Take time to really taste each beer. Note the color, smell, and taste. Try to pick out the individual flavors in the beer. You might taste grapefruitty bitterness or chocolatey sweetness or any number of other flavors. Notice how one style differs from another. You might even want to write down the name of the beer and make notes so you’ll remember to buy it later. Appreciating craft beer is what beer festivals are all about.

Know your ABVs.

With the signing into law of Free The Hops’ Gourmet Beer Bill, beers with an alcohol by volume (ABV) of greater than 6% are now legal in Alabama and will be available at the Magic City Brewfest. Beers with a higher alcohol content should be consumed at a slower pace than those that have lower alcohol content. Be sure you know the ABV of the beers you’re drinking so that you can take your time with them. If you’re not sure of a beer’s ABV, ask the pourer.

Be patient.

Beer festivals can get crowded. You will likely have to wait in lines to get some beers. Be patient and have fun.

Dress accordingly.

Beer festivals are pretty causal events. You’ll want to wear comfortable clothing. Check the weather in advance and wear sunscreen and/or rain gear if the forecast calls for it.

Thank a volunteer.

These folks work hard to help make the festival a good time for everyone. Show them your appreciation.

Bring cash for accessories.

You’ll want to buy a festival t-shirt, cap, or one of the many other items for sale. Bring cash as plastic probably won’t be accepted.

Educate yourself.

One of the best ways to have fun at a beer festival is learn in advance about the beers and beer styles you will be sampling. Learn the difference between an American Pale Ale and a Russian Imperial Stout or a Belgian Tripel and a German Rauchbier. Know what colors, smells, and tastes to expect (and not expect). Whether you’re a novice or a card-carrying member of Free The Hops, there’s always more to learn about beer.