Beer Baron: 7 tips to make the most of your first Great Taste of the Midwest – Madison.com

[Editor’s Note: As we march toward the 2017 Great Taste of the Midwest beer festival on Saturday at Olin Park, the Wisconsin State Journal is bringing back the Beer Baron‘s previous stories profiling this remarkable event. This story was first published in 2016.]

Happy Great Taste Eve, beer fans.

If you’re one of those visitors — or a local who finally got the notoriously tough ticket — you might be going to the Great Taste for the first time.

It’s a big thing, going to the Great Taste. You’ve probably been looking forward to it for months. You may have traveled hundreds, or even thousands, of miles.

All of that self-imposed pressure to enjoy the Great Taste often leads to overdoing it, so you have to be careful. After all, we are talking about alcohol here, even if it is wrapped in the seductive skin of a barrel-aged imperial stout.

You’re going to be tipsy if not drunk at the end of the fest; that’s OK. Just don’t be so far gone that the alcohol erases your memories, ruins the day or night and, especially, puts you in harm’s way.

So while I have several tips to enjoy your first Great Taste, many of them are about keeping the beer throttle on the right setting and managing all that beer input, even if it is two ounces at a time.

1. Don’t pregame

Sharing rare or otherwise fancy beers in lines at beer events is a pretty standard thing, but I’d stay away from it for the Great Taste. This year there are more than 1,200 beers from 191 breweries inside, scores of which, like that cellared bottle you’re sharing with friends in line,

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