The San Antonio Beer Festival was a Saturday well spent.  To commemorate one of my first legal outings, here are some highlights, recommendations for an even better time at next year’s festival and personal advice for handling yourself post-Beer Festival.

Before I begin, full disclosure: I pretty much don’t consume beer unless I absolutely have to.

When I first bought my ticket weeks in advance, I was a young 20 year old simply pumped to have fun with a legal status that was not yet a reality. However, as someone who is not in the slightest a beer enthusiast, I must admit that Beer Festival was still memorable and incredibly fun.

As you might imagine from the title of the event, this was a beer enthusiast’s dream. There was pretty much every imaginable beer type or flavor available for sampling. I am proud to admit that I endured three cups of real beer— October Fiesta, Crispin Pacific Pear and Alaskan Amber— before I caved and stuck to cider.  Indeed, one of the perks of Beer Festival was discovering a new appreciation for a variety of ciders.

For some reason, I thought that the San Antonio Beer Festival would change my dislike of beer.

At this year’s Beerfest, I  hoped that perhaps I would find a beer that didn’t taste like sour, yeasty soda to me, and that I could then start to regale all my  my beer-drinking friends with my newfound alcoholic expertise. Shockingly, this did not happen.

However, I did discover the wonder of cider,  and I spent most of my sample opportunities at the REDD’s tent, while my friends continued to sample real beer.

As for how to have the best time at the next Beer Festival, I highly recommend bringing something to sit on. Thankfully one of my friends was smart enough to bring a towel, which made the dry, prickly grass much more comfortable.

In the end, a lawn chair is ideal, but it’s not the easiest thing to carry around, so I leave it up  to you to decide if comfort or access to good beer is more important.

Also, there’s a reason that this is an age 21+ required event. Outside of drinking beer under this age being, you know, illegal, the fact is that this Beerfest just wouldn’t be fun sober.  Slowly becoming dehydrated in the two worst possible ways is only fun when you’re tipsy: all the alcohol sort of makes you forget that you’re sweating beyond recognition.

So, dear reader, here’s my advice: wear something loose-fitting and breathable for the most comfortable beer-consumption-in-90-degree-weather experience.

After consuming copious amounts of alcohol in the span of approximately five hours, I suggest dining at a nearby restaurant.

If you don’t get to eat from one of the food trucks on site, get yourself a solid burger or basically anything with plenty of carbs and fat.

Also, if you drink something with a lot of electrolytes, such as coconut water, just before you turn in for the night, you are pretty much set for a well-hydrated morning after.  If you find yourself getting one of those pesky headaches, I’d say that ibuprofen is your best bet.

Thanks to not-so-careful planning but some readily available coconut water afterwards, I can honestly say that I consider my first San Antonio Beer Festival a success.

As delightful as the beer was, many of my takeaways from the festival were not related to that titular beverage. Some of my most treasured souvenirs include a hangover-free Sunday, a sunburn that resulted in some decent color and, as you might have guessed, a new appreciation and affection for REDD’s Strawberry Cider.