Cincinnati Winter Beerfest: An Insider's guide to the biggest beer bash in town

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Local company expands festival network, events

CINCINNATI -- The Tri-State’s biggest beer fest is just around the
corner, and its popularity isn’t the only thing that’s growing.

The Cincy Winter Beerfest will be held on Feb. 13 & 14 at the Duke
Energy Center in downtown Cincinnati.

The festival attracts thousands of beer fans from across the region
for a two-night sampling of hundreds of beers. Each patron gets a set
of 25 tickets to sample more than 350 beers. There are also designated
driver tickets available.

Festivals Unlimited, the company that runs the Cincy Winter Beerfest
and other festivals, said they have some big changes set for 2015.

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“First off, we are proud to be the kickoff event for Cincinnati Beer
Week this year,” organizer Craig Johnson said.

For the past three years of the winter beerfest, the festival came at
the end of Cincinnati Beer Week.

“By having Beerfest kickoff Beer Week versus end it, we give every
brewery, wholesaler, and even restaurant, a fantastic closed audience
to tell about their Beer Week events at Beerfest,” Johnson said.

Festivals Unlimited also said that about 50 percent of the beer list
this year is made up of beers that weren’t there last year.

“That's a lot of new beers to try. There are new restaurants/food
booths selling their creations -- like Chocolate Covered Bacon -- but
mostly it’s a return of things that make our festival unique,” Johnson
said.

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The first draft of that beer list was released Wednesday and the
festival have hundreds of beers to try. (Click here for the beer list)
Organizers said the list may change due to deliveries and demand.

The beer list isn’t the only thing that’s growing. The group said they
are expecting to entertain 15,000 attendees over two nights this year.

Johnson said with the event being held on Valentine’s Day weekend,
they expect many downtown hotels to completely sell out of their
rooms. (The group recommends you reserve a hotel room early, and they
have packages available.)

Making all that magic happen requires a lot of help from volunteers.
Johnson said anyone who is interested is welcome to apply online as
they still have a few slots available.

Johnson also has some tips to navigate the festival for first-timers
and veterans alike. He said the most important things for a newbie to
learn are:  

Have a solid lunch and light meal later.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Look and print the beer list and map before you arrive and mark out a
few you know you'd like to get to.

Definitely ask for a taste of beers you know nothing about. Then use
the "spill buckets" for beers you don't like versus drinking them.

Hydrate throughout the event. There are water pitchers on every table,
and free bottled water is at the Designated Driver station.

Have some food from the great local restaurants during the event.

Claim your coats at Coat Check before 10:30 p.m. before the 10:45
rush.

Get a hotel downtown and tell them you're with Beerfest.

Do the Early Admission to have that extra hour of fun before the rest
of the crowd arrives at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are still available online and at retail locations including
Rock Bottom Brewery & Restaurant and The Party Source.

Organizers said people should remember that the event is a marathon
and not a sprint. Patrons are urged to enjoy themselves responsibly.

WCPO Insiders can learn more about how Festivals Unlimited puts on
their epic events and their growing network of festivals.

For the latest Cincinnati beer news and entertainment, go to
wcpo.com/beer or follow Jesse on Twitter at @wcpojesse .

http://www.wcpo.com/entertainment/local-a-e/beer/cincinnati-winter-beerfest-an-insiders-guide-to-the-biggest-beer-bash-in-town


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