We love Beerfest. No, not the movie. Although, that is a hilarious one. We’ve gone to the Columbus Winter Beerfest three years in a row and loved it every time. It’s our golden standard for events in Columbus because it’s so well organized.
The first year we went, we bought the Connoisseur tickets which will set you back about $90 per person. We weren’t super impressed with those tickets the first year and switch back to regular admission. This time, they really upped their game with Connoisseur and it was 100% worth it! With this ticket, you’ll get a glass snifter glass, premium brews, food from local restaurants, all in your own private room. These caramel brownies from Piece of Cake were paired with a delightful brew that I can’t recall because I was focused on shoving brownies in my face. There were a ton of wonderful restaurants in the Connoisseurs reception like Brew Brothers, Smoked on High BBQ, RAM, and my eternal favorite, 101 Beer Kitchen. Funny enough, we wanted to stop at The Pearl before Beerfest to get a little snack or two but it was too busy. Luckily, they were here shucking fresh oysters! There is just something I really love about live action food sampling like this. They also had a made-in-house arbol hot sauce which was unreal on top of those slimy little snacks. This isn’t the only part of Beerfest where you get food but it is the only part that is included in your ticket price. Most of the food vendors had really big portions including an entire sausage sandwich on a pretzel bun from Brew Brothers. If you are on the fence about the Connoisseurs ticket, I seriously suggest it because you also get a ton of custom brews that you wouldn’t get downstairs. My favorite this time was the Strawberry Milkshake IPA from RAM. Alright, enough about the VIP section because seriously regular admission is just as fun! You can purchase early admission tickets for $45-$65 (depending on when you buy them) or regular ol’ tickets for $45-$55. You’ll get a 5oz or 8oz plastic mug to use for your plethora of beer samples throughout the night. Just don’t lose it when you stop to play games like cornhole or giant Connect 4. This is one of my favorite activities to watch at Beerfest. The mood across the event is just so fun and light that Silent Disco takes it to another level. If you’ve never done this, basically there is a DJ playing music and everyone on the dance floor has headphones on listening but the audience doesn’t hear it. It’s so fun to see people get so into it when you have no idea what they are listening to. Sometimes I hope it’s like really OG Taylor Swift and all these dudes are just really feeling it. Here is me being a weirdo and just dancing along to the actual music playing in the room. There is a band that covers songs all night and plays the go-to wedding dancing songs. On the other side of the giant Convention Center room is karaoke which is equally as entertaining. Watching drunk skinny white dudes singing “Ignition” off-key does actually get really entertaining after 15-20 beer samples. I’ve mentioned that we’ve gone to Beerfest three years in a row. But, that first year was when I was preggo with Baby O. Luckily for me (and other non-alcohol drinkers) they offer a DD price and some cool perks! It’s just $20 for regular admission or $35 for the Connoisseur DD ticket. With both, you get free soda and water and a $5 voucher at a food booth. My only wish is that Uber/Lyft would be on site to offer promo codes for everyone leaving the event. Our Lyft home was $50 – womp womp. Clearly, this lady doesn’t need to be driving anywhere. Also, have you wondered what is up with the pretzel necklaces? There are many articles debating if you should wear one, if you shouldn’t, and what you should put on your necklace. We chose a simple thick sourdough pretzel option. But, more creative ladies and gents had string cheese, meat sticks, and even cheez it’s on their necklaces. I was impressed. Beerfest is setup and organized really well. There is a map online, printed and even an app you can download that shows you were all the breweries are located and any important other spots you need to visit. One of my favorite spots is the “quickie station” where a brewery has a 5oz beer readily available for you to grab as you walk on by it. I think the intention is to have a quick option instead of waiting in a long line but I don’t think we ever waited more than 2 minutes in line. So, it’s really just an added bonus. Yes, we ate a bunch at the Connoisseurs area but one of our favorite food trucks was at Beerfest so we had to get something else. Kenny’s Meat Wagon was serving up their Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich so we had to get one … and devour it in two minutes. There were some other food trucks around but the Convention Center has changed their food policies and they weren’t allowed to actually have their trucks in there which was kind of a bummer.On top of all these other awesome activities and dozens of brewery stations, they also host a really fun beard and mustache contest. It’s sponsored by Whiskerman, a hand-crafted grooming company out of Dayton, Ohio. The Beard actually uses a few of their products which we bought at Beerfest our first year! It isn’t a festival without a solid merchandise area. We actually bought a really cool piece of artwork the first year we went to Beerfest and it’s hanging near our liquor cabinet currently. Now, don’t worry if you missed the Columbus Winter Beerfest because you have a ton of other options coming up. Here are the dates and ticket links for the upcoming festivals!
Cleveland Beerfest: January 26-27
Cincinnati Beerfest: February 2-3
Pittsburgh Beerfest: February 23-34
If you missed Columbus, I’d suggest road-tripping it up to one of the three cities in the surrounding areas. It’s totally worth it – don’t let these lines fool you. Or, if you can’t make it work, don’t worry because they all host summer festivals too! Don’t forget to drink responsibly and order a Lyft (use the code HANNAH08170) if you’ve had one too many 10% beers. Cheers!