What level Beerfester are you?

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on


The Pittsburgh Beerfest is doing a big winter version inside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, on Feb. 28 and March 1. The organizers, who do Beerfests in other cities and did one this past summer at Stage AE, say they'll be pouring more than 300 craft beers, so I'm sure a good time will be had by all.

I just get a little wistful when I see the stratification of the admission levels.

I remember going to beer festivals when we all peed in the same troughs. (The women attendees wanted to, because the line to their lone porta-potty was so long.)

Now, most beer festivals offer at least a VIP ticket, giving those willing to spend a little more access to special beers, roped-off areas and other privileges.

For example, the Beers of the Burgh festival on April 4 has a "standard" admission ($45), an early-bird one ($35), plus a VIP one ($79) that gets you in a half hour earlier and "access to VIP area with catered grub from a local restaurant." (Non-drinking designated drivers pay $15.)

Beerfest takes it up a notch by offering two plus packages on top of the suddenly mundane-sounding "regular admission," as well as not one but two levels for designated drivers. Below is how it's laid out on the Beerfest site, in italics, and in descending order of drinking-vessel size:

Connoisseur Level Admission:

$75 Advance/$100 Day Of


VIP Early Admission benefits

Special Souvenir Glass

Access into the Connoisseur Reception Area (appetizer bites from 10 local restaurants each paired with a rare/super premium beer, private restrooms)

Special Connoisseurs only "no wait" Entrance area

Food pairings will run from 6:30 to 8:30pm and beer service will run until 10pm

You can come and go as you please!


$50 Advance/$60 Day Of

6:30 p.m. Early Entry Doors Open

Unlimited samples in an 8oz. Souvenir Acrylic Mug

10:40pm Last Call

10:45pm Last Pour

11:00pm Band & Event Ends

11:15pm Police Clear The Hall

Regular Admission Tickets:

$40 Advance/$50 Day Of

7:30 p.m. Entry Doors Open

Unlimited samples in a 5 oz. Souvenir Acrylic Mug

10:40pm Last Call

10:45pm Last Pour

11:00pm Band & Event Ends

11:15pm Police Clear The Hall

For non-drinkers, Beerfest offers:

Connoisseur Session Non-Drinking Tickets $30

Because of the food component of the exclusive Connoisseur Sessions each night, and because our space/food quantity is limited, the Connoisseur Session Designated Driver tickets are $30 each and include the above [Connoisseur] benefits as well during the main event.

Vip & Regular Ticket Non-drinking Tickets $20

Designated Driver Ticket gets your Designated Driver in the event, a $5.00 voucher for food at any food booth, and water/soft drinks at the event.

It got me to thinking. (One thought: The police have to clear the hall?)

Also: Why not add some other admission levels?

Some ideas:

Head-of-Former-Communist-State Package

$5,000 Advance/$7,500 Day Of

Be in control of what you "Putin" your mouth:

Choose from an array of live animals to be cooked in a maximum-security Mongolian barbecue

You get your own food tasters!

Arrive the night before it starts and stay for both days

14-carat-gold-plated, Swarovski-crystal-encrusted and wheeled 1-gallon tankard (with human holder)

All-access with your own team of bodyguards

Special head-of-state "throne room" facilities

You can determine what others may come to the fest or not!

Rock Star Package

$3,000 Advance/$4,000 Day Of

Arrive in a PA Brew Tours bus with your name on the front.

Custom laminates for your and your crew (up to two; additional roadies/groupies $500 per)

Pre-sorted M&Ms and other food, per your "rider," in a special "backstage" area

Drink what you want, directly from the taps

Bathrooms are wherever you want them to be

Stand on stage with one of the real bands and sing Semisonic's "Closing Time" when session ends! Then rock on, after hours!

A festival could offer levels below "regular," too. 

Two ideas:

American Light Lager Drinker Package

$3 Advance/$5 Day Of (we know that's what you're used to paying)

Unlimited small sips from a recycled 12-oz. beer can BUT:

You only can sample non-craft brews AND:

We don't offer any non-craft brews, loser!

Restroom Attendant Package

Free/Advance Free/Day Of

Soak up the fest buzz from whatever restroom you're assigned to stay in (until you're cleared by the police)!

Note: We'll pay women willing to work the women's restrooms and keep those lines moving.

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