A Brief but Essential Guide to Beer-Festival Etiquette.

Written by Martin Cizmar for wweek.com

Beer festival—wooooo!


Come now, surely I can get a “woo” for this weekend’s Oregon Brewers Festival, known as the biggest and best of Beervana’s keg-based parties. There will be more than 80 distinctive craft brews served alongside the Willamette River. It’ll go down under sunny skies if the early forecast is correct.

Ah, yes, but beer festivals are too often annoying. It only takes one drunken gang of broey buffoons arguing about the Sounders-Timbers rivalry precipitously close to a stroller and a flight of stairs to make you reconsider the entire venture.

Beer festivals can be awesome. They should be awesome. And they would be awesome if people could follow a few simple rules of conduct.

Leave the kids at home. Yes, by some quirk of Oregon state law, you are allowed to bring children to Portland beer festivals. This does not mean you should. People come here to imbibe serious amounts of alcohol; call me old-fashioned, but I strongly believe this is not something your children should witness. Sorry, but seeing someone with a baby strapped to them and a tasting cup in their hand depresses me.

In the village I came from, parents had the unusual custom of hiring a local teenager to watch their children while they went out drinking. It’s something I’d very much like to see revived here.

Don’t get a full glass of anything.
The point of a beer festival is to sample exciting new brews. People who use four tokens to get a full cup of something don’t belong there. Their money should be immediately refunded in Applebee’s gift certificates, and a large man in an ill-fitting polo shirt should be paged by radio to escort them to the exit.

Don’t clog up the serving area.
For some reason, people at beer festivals tend to congregate in circles right where the line might be expected to start. Do not do this, because it is very frustrating for everyone else who has to elbow past you.

Don’t hassle the volunteers pouring your beer.
These people are either cheapskates or beer groupies. Be nice to them, because this festival would cost a lot more if they were being paid.

Stop flirting with the volunteers pouring your drinks.
No, bro, she’s not into you.

Don’t steal things.
Having polled friends who volunteer at festivals and brewers, it seems they’re far more tolerant of obnoxiousness than thievery. Drunk people apparently seem to find stealing the many unguarded but valuable things at a beer festival funny. It isn’t.

Don’t give people shit about pouring beer out.
Some of us pour beer out because we don’t like it. Others of us pour beer out because we don’t want to get too wasted. Mind your own business.

Do not Zoot Suit Riot.
Even after you’ve thrown back a bottle of beer and pulled a comb through your coal-black hair while listening to the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.


DRINK: The Oregon Brewers Festival is at Tom McCall Waterfront Park on July 26-29. Noon-9 pm Thursday-Saturday, noon-7 pm Sunday. $6 mug, $1 sampling tokens. More information at oregonbrewfest.com.

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