Oktoberfest, the crown jewel in the beer fest calendar, begins this weekend in Germany, and there are various American versions happening all over the country. We can smell the sausages and taste the lager and feel that buzz coming on already. If you’re getting ready for Oktoberfest festivities or any other beer festival attendance, you should know what you’re getting into. These are the people you’re likely to encounter at your next beer festival.
1. Beer Geeks: They purchased tickets the first day they were released. They also purchased the VIP pass that gives them early admission, extra drink tickets, and a seat at the brewers’ discussion panel on the hottest new top-fermenting yeast strains.
How to spot a beer geek: He’s wearing a Pliny the Elder shirt and after every sip he begins writing detailed tasting notes in a dog-eared, leather-bound journal.
2. Bros: They can’t tell a pilsner from a porter, but they saw a flyer for a beer festival and stopped reading after “pretzel necklaces.” Evidently, no one has taught them the concept of waiting in line, and their favorite place to congregate is right in front of your favorite brewery’s booth. These guys are here for one reason and one reason only: to show the world how much beer they can drink from a teeny tiny glass.
How to spot a bro: He’s wearing a tank top, no matter what month it is.
3. Family Guys: Seriously, who brings their kids to a beer festival? These guys do, because they’re the cool dads. Junior’s three now, so he can entertain himself with an iPad while Daddy waits in the hour-long line for the one porta-potty on the premises.
How to spot a family guy: He’s holding an IPA in one hand, his golden retriever’s leash in the other, and has a sleeping infant strapped to his chest.
4. The DD: Someone had to take one for the team. These guys were assigned designated driver duties because they probably lost a bet. They’re trying to have a good time, but can you imagine going to a restaurant where instead of serving you food, the waiter just read you the menu over and over in an enthusiastic voice?
How to spot a DD: He’s loudly and angrily sipping Diet Coke while checking his phone to see if it’s time to leave yet.
5. No-Shows: Why pay a boatload of cash and wait in long lines to drink mediocre beer when you can get $3 pints at the dive across the street, where the bartender has your drink ready for you before you sit down? The only thing these guys dislike more than fancy beer is visitors. So get off their lawn.
How to spot a no-show: He’s hunched over a Coors Light at the dimly lit, rundown bar nearest the festival, with one eye on the game and the other watching you suspiciously.