It’s the most wonderful time for a beer!
The 2022 Windsor Craft Beer Festival kicks off Friday! Here are a few tips to help get the most out of one of the top festivals in the Lake Erie region and the best damn beer fest in the region. The region’s original and much loved beer fest returns after a 2 year hiatus giving you a chance to enjoy a huge selection of amazing brews from across the province and special one-offs.
With all that being said, here’s our ultimate guide for enjoying the 2022 Windsor Craft Beer Festival from October 14 to 15 at Willistead Park in Windsor, Ontario.
BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE
Save yourself the headache and the dollars and buy your ticket in advance online if only for one reason: it’s cheaper. That means you can put the money saved to better use…sampling beers.
Also, the event has regularly sold out in advance, so you don’t want to be on the outside watching through the fencing as your friends are having the time of their lives. Seriously. If that isn’t incentive enough, if there happen to be tickets available at the gate, they’re $50 cash each.
KNOW WHERE & WHEN TO ENTER THE FESTIVAL
Willistead Park is big. Don’t be just wandering around having no idea where to enter. The festival entry point will be on the southeast side of the manner. Think of where the Queen Victoria commemorative fountain is. In that area. That means the easiest way to enter the park is from Devonshire, Richmond or Chilver Roads. The parking lot entry at Niagara will be closed off as parking will be for festival staff and volunteers only.
The gates open at 5pm each day and the festival ends at 11pm each day. Advance tickets for each day are available at the discounted prices until those gates open. Then we remind you: it’s $50 at the gate to enter.
Forget all those heavy tokens weighing you down, we’ve gone digital once again! Once you get to the event, we’ll scan your ticket, give you a WCBF tasting cup, an RFID bracelet pre-loaded with $10 worth of digital tokens and you’re off.
How do the digital tokens work? Simply tap your bracelet at any beer booth, place your order, and tap a second time to confirm your purchase. Boom! Easy peazy!
YOU CAN TOP UP THOSE DIGITAL TOKENS
You can add more digital tokens to your bracelet by “topping-up” with cash at the Token Tent. Cash or debit can be used. The wristbands are used for all beer and food purchases.
BE SAFE, RESPONSIBLE & RESPECTABLE
The most important rule of them all is to drink responsibly. To help make the festival a unique and memorable experience, it is located in the midst of a neighbourhood (Willistead Park). As a result, there is no onsite parking and street parking is limited.
We also remind you that the purpose of coming to the festival is to drink beer so make plans for alternate transportation. Have a friend drop you off, bring a designated driver, take the bus (it’s on a bus route), take a taxi or Uber, ride your bike, walk, etc. There are so many other, much safer options to get you to and from the festival. At the end of the day we want all our patrons to safely return home to the people who love them…or to their cats.
Finally, remember how we just said that we’re in a neighbourhood? Be mindful of that and respect the residents. When exiting the festival and into the neighbourhood, keep in mind your steps from peoples homes. Try to keep your noise to a minimum.
Also, remember this is the first WCBF since the world stopped in 2020. Be kind as we ease back into it and be full strength in 2023.
DRESS FOR THE WEATHER
While the weather looks like sunny days and clear skies for this weekend, please remember that it’s still October. It’s going to be chilly at night and the beer won’t warm you up as much you as think. We’ve gone to outdoor craft beer festivals in the middle of February. Did we wear a light jacket? Heck no! We layered up. Layers are your best friend. Plus, why would you not want to show off your cute new fall fashion?
BE READY TO DANCE
Our entertainment lineup will be made up of some great Windsor DJ’s this year. Be sure you’re ready to dance in a gorgeous setting with the acts performing with the historic Willistead Manor as the backdrop.
PLAN YOUR ATTACK
There’s a reason we provide the festival beer list in advance. With 23 breweries and over 80 beers, it can get a little intimidating figuring out what you want to taste. Go through the list and make some notes. You’ll be handed the 2022 Festival Field Guide when you arrive on site which should also have the entire beer list and which booths the breweries are located at. Choose your beers wisely!
The pricing might be a little different this year than you’re used to, too. We’ve been able to bring in some of Ontario’s best breweries and that meant they didn’t necessarily fit into our traditional pricing structure. As a result, there will be some more “higher tier” beers this year compared to previous years. But let me tell you, they’re definitely worth sampling.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
The brewery and beer lineup is, in our opinion, excellent. Our plan of action when selecting the breweries and beers for 2022 was showcasing ones that were not readily available in Windsor-Essex. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something you might not normally try. The great thing about craft beer is the amazing and sometimes wacky flavour combinations that brewers come up with that work magnificently well together.
For those who don’t drink beer we also have some non-beer (gluten free) options available.
At the Windsor Craft Beer Festival you have the ability to purchase 4oz, 8oz or 12oz samples. So you could spend the night just sampling away or find that one favourite beer and stick with it.
BE SOCIAL! SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
We also mean be social in the literal and digital sense. Pics or it didn’t happen, right? Talk to other festival goers as it is a very friendly, intimate event and encouraged. Use the #YQGBEERFEST hashtag so we can share your photos.
What’s better than beer, burgers, tacos and sushi? The answer is nothing. Absolutely nothing. Check out our food vendors for the festival. They’re super excited to offer some tasty treats that will compliment the beer nicely and fill your bellies with even more goodness.
Please note that no outside food or drink will be permitted on site. That includes those awesome pretzel necklaces.
(HUMAN) ADULTS ONLY PLEASE
No kids, no pets, no yetis. Please don’t arrive to the festival with any of these if you want smooth, easy access into the grounds. Ok, maybe we’ll let you bring the yeti in, but, only if he agrees to sing karaoke on stage. It’d be great for YouTube.
BALANCE IS KEY
Remember to balance your taste buds. Don’t start a tasting session with a beer with an IBU (international bitterness units) of 90 and expect to be able to taste anything other than hops from then on. Start lower and work your way up. Same goes with sweeter beers. Save those for later. Your taste buds will thank you.
WATER: DRINK IT
Water is what sustains life. Especially at a beer festival. You want to be able to pace yourself and make sure you stay hydrated so you can properly enjoy the special brews available. There’s no shame in drinking water. We’ll have a hydration station set up within the festival site for anyone needing to drink some water or rinse their cups.
BE THE TORTOISE, NOT THE HARE
Slow and steady wins the race. This festival isn’t about drinking as much and as quickly as you can. Please remember, this is a beer tasting event, not a beer guzzling event. We encourage you to try many different beers to see all that craft beer has to offer but we expect you to do so responsibly.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.windsorbeerfestival.com.