I frequent a lot of festivals and often volunteer at Beer-related festivals and events. Food festivals provide a platform for various restaurants, food vendors and caterers to allow the public to sample - the best are probably the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival and the Taste of Atlanta (or other favorite city). There are also charity events centered around food, wine and/or beer for different causes and I'm usually up for volunteering my time for those that are worthwhile.

Before the laws changed in Georgia it was difficult for breweries to market their wares and the various beer festivals were a great way to get a big group of potential fans together to see what you were offering. This has changed a bit after the laws changed (for those who don't know, it used to be that the breweries couldn't sell directly to the public visiting their facilities - instead you would pay for a tour that included a glass and tastings, usually through the use of tickets or tokens for a nominal feel like $10 or so). Now the beer festivals have broken down into two different types - the rare-beer fest and the drunk fest.

The rare-beer fest features beers that are of the breweries highest quality (like barrel aged stouts), experimentals (which are usually expensive to produce), or atypical presentations (like the cask-conditioned). These are my favorite festivals and I usually either volunteer or pay the price to attend. The other type, the drunk-fest, are full of long lines and the typical beers offered-up from the various breweries - they also tend to have other vendors like companies selling DUI services (makes sense, no?) or time-share type services. These can sometimes be quite fun to attend but I've given up on most of these.

My favorite local rare-beer festivals are:
  • Cask Ale Festival (used to be at 5 Seasons, heard it's moving to
  • Classic City Festival
  • Strong Beer Festival at Wrecking Bar
  • Old 320 Fest
  • The Juice Festival
 My favorite local drunk-fests are:
  • Decatur Beer Festival - while still a drunk-fest, there's a VIP area that's worth spending the money to get into.
  • Atlanta Summer Beer Festival - I usually volunteer at this one - quite fun, tons of beer
  • Suwanee Beer Festival - probably the largest in Atlanta, this festival has many vendors you don't typically see, including North Carolina breweries.
Here's a few I've reviewed:

  1. Atlanta Food and Wine Festival
  2. Brookhaven Beer Fest
  3. Georgia Renaissance Festival
  4. Tap One Beer Festival - Dunwoody

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