Beer Fest Fashion: A Guest Post From Beer Guy PDX

I threw up the Brewfus Signal for some guests posts, and with the quickness, Wolf, AKA Beer Guy PDX, responded. Today's post had me laughing and cringing while I read it. This guy gets me, and I think this post will be right up your (the readers) alley. Keep reading for tips on how to stay safe during a beer fest, and be sure to check him out afterwards at You can also find him on Twitter (@beerguypdx )! Thanks again for answering my distress call, Wolf. Much appreciated!

-Hipster Brewfus

It's summer in the Pacific Northwest and that means Beer Fest Season is in full swing here in Portland, Oregon. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the time of year you'll find great beer-related events going on almost every weekend in my burg and surrounding environs. Of course, the major beer festivals like the highly celebrated, often imitated, but never duplicated Oregon Brewer's Festival can be like a trip to grown-up Disneyland and it takes some planning to do them right. This can often be quite a daunting endeavor for the beer fest noob. If that's you, I'm here to help.

I'm a beer festival veteran. I've been to all of the big, local ones many, many, many times. Hell, I've been to all of the tiny, little-known ones, too. I know my way around the Buzz Tent, let's put it that way. I've been at this for a long time and I've learned all the tricks for making beer festival attendance more fun, efficient and awesome, and I'm going to share those tricks with you RIGHT NOW.

Just like a seasoned mountain climber braving the harsh conditions of Mt. Hood, a beer festival attendee has to have the right equipment. Check out the photo below and read all about the essential gear needed for a successful day at a beer fest:

1) Cargo shorts. I know cargo shorts are hideous, but they are costume de rigueur for beer fests. Why? Ginormous pockets. You are going to be carrying all kinds of stuff and you'll need immediate access to that gear...which isn't easy when you have a tasting glass permanently attached to one hand. Yes, your tush looks amazing in those skinny jeans, my young friend, but you'll have a helluva time trying to dig that last taster token out of your tiny, tight pocket when you're three sheets to the wind. I know what you're thinking: I'll just bring a backpack. You'll be sorry! Backpacks get mighty heavy after a few dozen beers. Additionally, I happened to walk past the lost and found at the last beer fest I attended, and guess what I saw...lots of lost backpacks. I'm just sayin', cargoes are the way to go!

2) Pretzel necklace (not shown--eaten). You'll get hungry, that goes without saying. There are usually food carts and snack booths at most beer festivals, but the lines can be long and the prices are just this side of felonious gouging. Make sure your snacks are always within reach and IMPOSSIBLE to misplace. The pretzel necklace is the greatest invention of all time. Get yourself some string...some pretzels...tada!

3) Obscure brewery hat (and/or other prominently displayed piece of logo apparel). The idea here is to wear a conversation starter. Every other putz will be wearing a hat from Well-known Brewery. You? You're a rugged individualist. Your hat from Woodchipper Suds or Crazy Larry's Brewpub will set you apart from the crowd and get lots of questions coming your way from beer drinking supermodels. Okay, the supermodel part is a big, fat lie, but lots of hairy beer geeks will strike up conversations with you. Hey, I've met some of my very best friends at beer fests. That's no lie.

4) Sunscreen. Contrary to popular belief, the sun does shine occasionally in Portland. For gawd's sake, Melvin, lather up! Sunscreen prevents skin cancer and premature aging. Learn it, know it, live it!

5) Wads and wads of cash. Most beer fests are cash only affairs. Save yourself a mess of stress and load up on the greenbacks before you go. The last thing you'll want is to run out of taster tickets and find yourself stewing in a long line at the only ATM for miles around.

6) Beer tap scepter.'s a gawd damned beer tap scepter! Don't judge me.

7) Festival appropriate t-shirt. Your t-shirt should let everyone know that you're a beer fest pro. Acceptable shirt styles: old, worn shirt from a previous year of the festival you are currently attending; trendy craft brewery shirt; macro-brewery shirt just for the irony; zany, wacky shirt that tells everyone that you are ONLY there for the beer; no shirt because, well, you're drunk. I like my awesome lederhosen t-shirt. I get absolutely zero compliments on it. Women hustle their children and pets away from me. The crowd literally parts when that crazy guy walks by. It's perfect.

8) Beer gut. A beer fest is the one place where a fellow like me can display an ample beer belly with pride and aplomb. You know, I didn't just wake up with this gut one morning. It took lots and lots of semi-professional beer drinking to get it into this kind of shape. Don't hate. Keep drinking those fine craft beers and you can have one of your own someday!

9) Sensible shoes. Now, you may be tempted to wear sandals on a warm summer day, but that is a bad, bad idea at a crowded beer fest. Why? Have you ever had a hundred buzzed people step on your toes? Effing ouch! Those lines are long, slow! , and filled with some inebriated fest goers. Save your tootsies and wear close-toed shoes. Steel-toed boots are always an acceptable option. too.

10) Bluetooth headset. Just kidding! Only a total d-bag would wear a b-tooth to a beer fest!

11) Swag bag. I don't know about you, but if some brewery is going to be giving away pens, stickers, bar mats, bottle openers, whatever, I'm taking that stuff home by the fistful! Bring a handy tote bag to tote home your swag. Mine is a compactable Arrogant Bastard bag. It fits neatly into my cargo pockets until needed.

12) Water. I highly recommend bringing along your own water bottle. They will charge you up the wazoo for a bottle of H2O at most beer fests. Hydrate, homie, or you could end up in the first aid tent. This is some serious beer consumption you're engaged in and keeping yourself adequately watered is a must. Plus, bringing your own reusable water bottle is the enviro-awesome thing to do.

13) Bus pass. Beer Guy PDX frowns on drinking and driving. Make sure you are fully prepared to get to and from your beer fest without the need to drive. Seriously, I'm not joking here. Purchase a day pass for mass transit. Prearrange a cab. Impress your sweetie with a limo! Hell, call me and I'll pick you up. It's all good, as long as you aren't dragon-breathing it down the 84 freeway after a long day of beer tasting.

14) Notepad and pen. Most beer geeks have a weird, unstoppable, freaky desire to document all of their beer conquests. That's me. If that's you, I strongly suggest bringing along a little notepad and some kind of writing instrument to get the job done. Many people keep track of their drinking history with a smartphone or iPad. That's fine, but I recommend against the electronics. Keep your nose off the screen and enjoy the beer and atmosphere!

15) Shades. I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can, watch you weave then breathe your story-lines...

16) Smile. Share lots of these with your fellow craft beer enthusiasts. We are a beer-loving, fun-loving community and we should all do our best to make every beer festival as enjoyable as possible for everyone. With great beer comes great responsibility. Go forth and make new friends! Finally, be kind to the people serving the beer. Most of those folks are volunteers devoted to making sure you have a fun day at the beer fest. Remember that a please and a thank you will mean a lot to them and validate their self-less efforts.


  1. I don't know how I'd ever make it through a beer fest without a pretzel necklace. A key piece of equipment for a successful day of beer.