Meredith Heil

The Seven Deadly Beer Festival Sins

Thrillist.com’s Meredith Heil describes herself as “a professional beer aficionado (aka massive nerd),” who’s seen her share of beer festivals. Some were downright amazing, but she’s been to a number of failed festivals: “Picture hordes of pretzel necklace-clad mouth breathers and tank-topped spring breakers pounding corner store-quality imperial IPAs like vodka shots. These guys are all about drinking hard and fast–which is fine, of course, but probably not worth that triple-digit ticket price.”

Heil names seven red flags that a festival is going to disappoint. Along the way, she quotes Ludwig Roars’s own Paul Ruschmann:

1. There aren’t many local breweries.
2. Snacks cost extra.
3. Bottles outnumber jockey boxes (or any other portable draft setup).
4. It’s only pouring beers you can find at the grocery store.
5. There’s no water in sight.
6. Bloggers aren’t repping it.
7. The tasting window is less than three hours.

Up and Coming Beer Cities

Not long ago, you had to hop on a plane or take a road trip to find a city that’s rich in good beer. For most people in North America, that’s no longer the case: cities large and small have significantly stepped up their beer game.

Thrillist.com correspondent Meredith Heil has identified “ten untapped beer cities poised to blow up”. Four of the ten—Birmingham, Durham, Louisville/Lexington, and Memphis—are in the South, craft beer’s last frontier. Birmingham’s presence on the list is especially remarkable; it wasn’t that long ago that homebrewing was illegal in Alabama and archaic laws imposed an ABV cap on beer.

Salt Lake City is another surprise. Even though Utah eased some of its restrictions on alcohol, serving flights of beer is still a no-no and there’s a 4-percent limit on beer sold in stores. Brewers have to be creative to survive in that environment.

And we’re happy to see Toronto get a mention. It’s one of our favorite road-trip destinations, and we’ve been partial to Canadian beer ever since we cracked open our first Molson Export Ale. The city is highly walkable, and some of our best memories involve sipping pints on long summer evenings.

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