A Guide To WinterBrewed

WINTERBREWEDWhen it comes to beer festivals no matter what the size it always helps to be prepared. Reasons for attending beer festivals vary depending on the person, regardless of your intentions it always helps to have a strategy so that you can get the most out of your experience.

The first annual WinterBrewed Craft Beer Festival is set to take place on February 16th & 17th in downtown Ottawa at the Sparks Street Mall from Elgin to O’Connor.

The first block is dedicated to Beaus Snowman Lounge filled with 300 snowman and ice carvings courtesy of Carleton University Engineering Students. Of course what snowman lounge would be complete without a 360degree ice bar and a DJ booth to keep you moving. Beaus beer tent will also be set up with some of your favourite beaus products.

When you’re not caught up in the Beaus Snowman Lounge, visit the hot beer tent to warm up! Or why not treat yourself with a sugary snack from the sugar shack. (Located in the middle of the festival) Mill Street Brewery also has a stage set with a solid lineup of performers for both days of the festival. With out a doubt it should be a fun filled weekend for everyone.

beausWith less than a week away until WinterBrewed it always helps to be a little prepared, being the first year for this festival most of us are going in blind folded not knowing what to expect. Fear not, although it can be a little overwhelming with these tips and a little inside info you’ll be sure to enjoy Winterbrewed to its fullest.

1. Plan Ahead – With this being the first year of WinterBrewed it’s definitely the best idea to plan ahead as much as you can. Being organized never hurt anyone. WinterBreweds website is filled with info that is extremely useful in planning your day. I’m not saying plan every minute of the day, but having a general idea of what you’d like to do and see definitely helps the day to go by smoothly. Also, check the weather, it is an outdoor event so you want to make sure you are dressed appropriately for the winter weather.

2. Dress Warm/Bundle Up! – It’s an outdoor event and it’s February, as much as you want to show off your cute craft beer sweater or rock a light jacket it’s probably best to leave that for National Capital Craft Beer Week in the summer. Bundle up, pull out your mittens and hats, wear your warmest winter jacket. After all do you really want to be uncomfortably cold all day? Or be the person that ends up with hypothermia? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

3. If You Drink Don’t Drive – Probably the biggest mistake when attending a beer festival is driving there and thinking you’ll be able to get away with just one sample, although if you are one in a few that can do that I congratulate you. For the most though it’s a must to have a designated driver or use public transit. Drinking and Driving is intolerable, don’t be THAT person. Be Responsible.

4. Bring Cash – Admission for the festival is free but in order to participate in the tastings you must purchase a pass for $10.00. There will be 3 ticket booths located at each corner of the festival. If you’re like me and are impatient, that smart move is to buy your ticket in advance. Advance tickets are available to purchase at Eventbrite. The advance ticket includes 1 official festival sampling glass, 1 official sampling token, and a special gift from Sparks Street Mall merchants. They also have a $30.00 pass available that includes $20 worth of sampling tokens.

5. Tokens – Tokens are the key to the festival. They are used to get beer samples, food, and other tasty treats. Tokens can be purchased at any one of the ticket booths on Sparks Street.mill street

6. Get Your Groove On – Mill Street Brewery has set up a stage with a line up of awesome talent. Take a look at the set list before you go, figure out if there are any sets you specifically want to see. That way you can plan around a set if necessary.

7. Be Social – Craft beer festivals attract many different types of people. From the craft beer lovers to breweries, this is the place to branch out and learn everything there is about craft beer. Take the time to bond with someone over a mutual love for craft beer. Remember not to be rude, everyone has their own opinions but keep in mind that the person you may be talking to may have had something to do with the beer you’re criticizing.

8. Spread the love, Be nice to the Volunteers – Most of the people working at WinterBrewed are volunteers. These lovely people have taken the time to serve you beer instead of enjoying it themselves, for that alone they deserve a ton of praise. Take the time to talk to them, they are here to help you and most likely love craft beer just as much as you do.

9. Eat Before You Go – It seems like common sense but let’s face it a lot of us are in the mind set that we can just grab something when we’re there. Even though there will be lots of food readily available remember you will be sampling beer and on an empty stomach that can equal disaster. If you plain on attending the festival early, remember to eat a big breakfast. You don’t want to have to be taken home after 2 hours because you’re too drunk to stand.

10. Have Fun – Most importantly have fun! Craft Beer isn’t about being uptight, loosen up and kick back for some winter wonderland fun with a craft beer!

See you all Saturday!

– The Beer Gypsy


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