This post was updated on October 19th, 2018
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I love festivals, and I love beer, so I was very excited when Dorothy from the blog Oz and Other Places wanted to share her experience and tips at the Decatur Beer Festival in Decatur, Georgia, USA for this edition of the Focus on Festival Series. The words and photos in this post are courtesy of Dorothy. Please know the legal drinking age in the USA is 21. Take Me to the World encourages people to drink responsibly.
The Decatur Beer Festival (or DBF, as it is affectionately called) takes place every October in Decatur, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. It features over eighty stands from breweries around the US and unlimited beer samples with your entry. Of course, you must be over 21 to attend. The festival ropes off the Decatur Square and Main Road, so there’s plenty of space to try the offerings, chat with friends and enjoy the live music. It’s my favourite festival of the year, so here’s what you need to know!
Getting Your Tickets
DBF is not just my fave; it is also one of the most popular festivals in Atlanta. This means you’ll want to plan ahead to get your tickets. My friends and I set alarms for the day they release tickets. This is typically a weekday in August or September at around noon. They sell out quickly, so make sure you don’t have a lunch meeting that day! If you do miss the release, you can usually find tickets on neighbourhood forums, Facebook or Craigslist. This is serious business.
Before You Go
Check the weather! Decatur Beer Fest happens rain or shine or wildly hot Atlanta October weather. In general, Atlanta weather is unpredictable, but in the fall, it is especially so. If you’re from Chicago, like me for example, you may think jeans and a long sleeve shirt would be appropriate in October. You may be very wrong/very sweaty.
Pack snacks! Homemade pretzel necklaces are a very popular accessory at DBF. People string together pretzels and sometimes cheese, sausage or candies around their neck to snack on in between stops. Sometimes if you don’t bring your own, you can make a game out of grabbing other people’s pretzels. This is actually not at all recommended, but to say I haven’t pulled that move before would be a lie.
Get Brunch! Since Decatur Beer Fest has become such a popular event among my friends, we always plan to eat a hearty brunch together before we go. Side note: Did I mention we’ve made a pact to always attend DBF together no matter where we live or where we are in life? It’s that fun! Anyway, you’ll want to have a hearty base of food so be sure to eat breakfast. If you are looking to go out for brunch instead, there are plenty of great food options in the Atlanta and Decatur areas. Some of my favourites in Decatur include Cakes & Ale, Sun In My Belly, Highland Bakery and Sweet Melissa’s, though these may be extra busy around the festival. In Atlanta, there are tons of other options. You can’t go wrong with the original Highland Bakery location, General Muir, Murphy’s, Folk Art or Buttermilk Kitchen.
Since Decatur is a suburb of Atlanta, it is a little out of the way. However, the train system Marta runs straight to the entrance of the festival. This makes it very convenient if you are starting near a stop. Otherwise, Uber and Lyft are also easy options. Decatur has limited free parking, and on DBF those spaces are in high demand. Add that to the beer part of the festival, and I highly recommend avoiding driving yourself.
While You’re There
There are two primary areas with beer stands. The first is in the square and the second is in the street, with the food tents connecting the two sections. Typically, the square is more crowded, so I like to start on the street. As I mentioned, there are unlimited samples at DBF, so when you enter you will get a signature glass that will be refilled at each spot.
There is always a map of the vendors, so if you have a particular brewery in mind, you will be able to find it. I like to mix it up with some that I already know and some I’ve never seen. This is how my friends and I came across Ballast Point and got to meet some of their first employees! There is also water at each station to rinse your glass and stay hydrated.
In general, I suggest doing three things: enjoy some beer, sample the local Atlanta food and dance to the music! TBH not that many people dance, but the music is always good, and I personally love to dance. The real third suggestion is to talk to people. We’ve met so many people at the beer stands or just attending the festival that it’s always worth it.
Hope to see you at Decatur Beer Fest this October!
About the Author
Dorothy grew up outside of Chicago and lives in Atlanta, Georgia now with her husband and two golden retrievers, Hank and Ted. Although she works full time, she loves travelling and planning trips which led her to start Oz and Other Places. Besides that she enjoys exploring new places, eating mac and cheese, hanging in the sunshine, hiking, and reading. You can also follow Dorothy on Instagram and Pinterest.
Have you been to the Decatur Beer Festival? What’s your favourite beer festival? Let me know in the comments.