Beer festivals are an inescapable part of the Craft Beer Lifestyle at this point. Your GABFs. Your Dark Lord Days and Darkness Days and other not-darkness-themed stout releases. Your crappy beer festivals that you went to anyway because they were better than, well, not drinking.
Once you've attended a few of them, you notice the same types of people appearing again and again. Like these fine people...
The Guy Who's a Little Too Excited About His Pretzel Necklace
He came prepared. Three different sizes of pretzels and a baggie of trail mix dangling from the bottom that may or may not have some string cheese taped to the back. He's constantly puffing out his chest as if to say "I made this." He will be very sick of pretzels in an hour.
The People Hyping a Brewery That Doesn't Exist Yet
"Oh, you noticed our black and fireball-orange bowling shirts with the impossibly large 'Hellfire Brewing' logo? What's Hellfire Brewing? So glad you asked because it's set to open sometime in 2020. Would you like a sticker? Because we have stickers."
No matter how good a beer is, this person has tasted a better version that definitely isn't available at this festival. And even if you've had that version? They probably had it on draft before you did, so it was FOR SURE fresher.
The Guy Who Never Learned to Walk in a Crowd
Is perpetually either trapped and blocking traffic flow or barreling through people while somehow spilling on everyone from a 2oz taster glass. His skills will not improve as the day progresses.
The Guy Who Knows He Has the Best Beard in the Whole Damn Place
It's magnificent. Full yet restrained. Robust. Meticulously groomed. Imposing. Go ahead and stare. Bask in its glory as you note the quiet confidence in his face. This man knows things. This man has seen things. This man has a 4.8 rating as a Lyft driver when he's not bartending part-time at an above-average beer bar.
The BeerAdvocate Review Come to Life
It's simply not normal to say "mouthfeel" that many times in one day, OK?
Has been coming to this fest since it was just an illegal gathering of seven dudes with a tent in an extremely hard to find alley. Is wearing an incredibly old brewery T-shirt that has been through 1,000 washes but still looks perfect. Has better stories than anyone here.
Knows damn well all of the most-hyped beers that will be at this thing and is fully prepared to call them all "underwhelming" while extolling the virtues of the spectacularly clean kolsch he found at some brewery with no line. Once called The Godfather "kind of prosaic."
The Slightly Overwhelmed Volunteer
Is the brewer's friend's cousin or something. Someone just asked what kind of hops are in this double IPA but the brewer just stepped away for a second and uh oh looks like the keg just kicked and WHERE IS EVERYONE?!
The Brewery Groupie
Hoodie? Check. Pins? Check. Talking to the brewer like he's an old friend and holding up the line for everyone else? Check.
Will inevitably come out of the gate way too fast, forget to eat, and have some kind of terrible mishap in a porta potty before leaving early.
The Sour Junkie
The pleasures of IPAs have worn thin. Stouts have grown boring. Only the magic of wild fermentation can excite this well-traveled palate anymore. Any brewery without a sour might as well be trying to get signatures for a Greenpeace petition.
The Bro Brigade
They're decked out in their finest North Face apparel, ready to alternately brag about their finance jobs and about all the rare beer they've bought on the resale market because who has time to actually wait in lines at releases.
The Parent(s) Who Scored a Babysitter
The kid's like a year old. They have five free hours and they're drinking like every booth just announced it was almost out of beer. They will really hate tomorrow.
The Barrel-Aged Snob
If it didn't spend many months hanging out in a whiskey or brandy or wine or some other boozy barrel, then don't bother. It was aged on oak chips, you say? YOU TAKE THAT GARBAGE OUT OF HERE!
The Ill-Prepared Food Truck Owner
Just got the ol' Queso Wagon running a couple of months ago. Had never served at a fest this big before but was pretty sure everything would be fine. Ran out of food in 17 minutes.
Didn't have time to drink at the festival because of all the time spent tracking down nine different strangers he pre-arranged trades with.
"It's So Good" Guy
Has one simple three-word review for every single beer here. Guess what it is? Incidentally... it's also his review of every single episode of The Big Bang Theory.
The Line Complainer
Somehow thought their friends would be the only ones attending this 90-brewery festival. Really hated Disney World as a kid.
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Thrillist Executive Editor Matt Lynch tries not to complain about lines. Complain to him @MLynchChi.