How to have the best time possible at Winterfest

The 9th Annual Brewers of Indiana Guild Winterfest is nearly upon us.

On Saturday, February 4, thousands of local beer fans will gather in our new location at the Indiana State Fairgrounds’ largest event venue, the West Pavilion, to drink beer from 101 Hoosier breweries plus plenty of guests while supporting the mission of the nonprofit Brewers of Indiana Guild at Indiana’s best winter beer fest.

Even better, $3 from every ticket sold, a percentage of sponsorship, and all donations at coat check will go to support our charity partner, Joy’s House. In the past two years alone, Winterfest attendees and sponsors have raised $40,000 for Joy’s House.

If you don’t have your ticket yet, get it now before Winterfest sells out. Have your ticket? Share this post with a friend who’s on the fence.

With so much beer to drink and so much stuff to see and do, here’s how to get the most out of your day.


Print your ticket.

Yes, we know it’s 2017 and that almost everyone has a smartphone. But we also know that problems scanning tickets from phones can dramatically slow down entrance for all attendees, so all tickets need to be printed for Winterfest this year.

Rest assured that we’re looking at the best ways to get everyone into future festivals as quickly and safely as possible, regardless of whether the ticket is printed or on phones.

Get your wristband.

Pre-wristbanding allows you to get in faster by using the “Pre-Banded” Early Bird (Southwest Gate) or General Admission (North Gate) lines at the festival.

Pre-banding will be available before the event on Friday, Feb. 3 from 4 – 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. – noon at HopCat Broad Ripple, and on Friday, Feb. 3 from 4 – 8 p.m. at Tomlinson Tap Room. Each will have a stellar lineup of beers for you to enjoy while you’re there.

Please show your ticket and 21+ ID at pre-wristbanding. Wristbands will not be given for attendees who aren’t present. Your wristband will be placed on your wrist at the pre-banding, so you won’t be able to remove it before the event.

Winterfest 2017 Indianapolis map

Map your day.

Click the map image above to see where your must-visit breweries are located, and plan your route so you don’t miss out.

You can also easily access the map in the Winterfest tab of the Drink Indiana Beer app, in which you can also mark your favorite breweries and take notes.

Plan your ride.

DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. We can’t emphasize this enough.

Plan to have a designated driver, taxi, Uber, or Lyft take you home safely after the festival.

DDs may drop you off and pick you up at the West Pavilion by entering the Fairgrounds at Gate 1 on 38th Street, then following State Fair Blvd.

DDs who would like to attend the festival may purchase $10 DD tickets which get them complimentary non-alcoholic drinks from Liberation Coffee Roasters and Bee Coffee Roasters. To ensure everyone’s safety, DDs are not permitted to drink alcohol.

Drink Indiana Beer beanie pom caps

Pack your stuff.

Check out the the list of what you can and can’t bring into the fest in the FAQ.

And don’t forget to save your money for great beer-related merch, like the Drink Indiana Beer knit pom-pom caps which we’re bringing back for the second year in a row to the Guild gear booth, where you can also enlist in the IN Beer Brigade for members-only access to our forthcoming Sun King/Central Indiana breweries collaboration beer and release parties.

Pre- and post-party.

Local breweries are lining up some great events the week of Winterfest, so check out our new Do317-powered events page and #IndyWinterfest on Twitter and Instagram to see what’s happening.


With so many incredible breweries in one place at the same time, it’s easy to be tempted to drink as much beer from as many booths as possible as fast as you can. Not smart.


Fill up on a substantial meal before you start drinking, bring your best pretzel necklace, and be sure to eat food from the concessions stand even if you don’t think you’re really hungry.

Acknowledge the reality that 3 oz. pours add up quickly.

While 3 oz. pours go down easy, it’s not wise to try to sample at least one beer from every brewery, let alone try to sample every beer from every brewery.

Once you’ve had a few samples, don’t be afraid to ask for a smaller pour or take a break so you don’t get too intoxicated too fast.

Even if you don’t think you’ve had enough to drink, others do: Every server at Winterfest is trained to recognize intoxication and won’t pour another beer for someone who’s had too much.

Drink water!

Aqua Systems is kindly providing water stations throughout the event, so fill your taster and drink a few glasses of water every time you pass their stands.

You can also bring an empty CamelBak to fill at the water fountains, or purchase bottled water at the concession stands.

We recommend drinking equal amounts of beer and water.

Don’t break your glass.

While the vast majority of festgoers drink and act responsibly, a few might misbehave.

If you see someone intentionally break their glass, please report it immediately to security, festival staff, or a Volunteer Captain ( lime-colored shirts) so we can clean up any mess and escort the offender from the premises.

If you accidentally break your glass, find one of the aforementioned people who will help you and get a replacement plastic taster for you.

Visit the Cask Tent.

One of the most unique aspects of Brewers of Indiana Guild festivals is the cask area, where you can sample small-batch beers that may never be brewed again. Get there early, though: The Cask Tent is quite popular at Winterfest.


You might be surprised to learn that there’s a lot to do besides drink beer at Brewers of Indiana Guild beer fests.

Enter to win.

Stop by the Visit Indiana booth to enter to win an Honest to Goodness Indiana prize pack featuring a two-night stay at West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick, a carriage ride certificate and a spa credit of $150, and more than $150 $175 in gift cards from a range of South Central and Southern Indiana breweries including Basket Case Brewing Company, Carson’s Brewery, Donum Dei, Floyd County Brewing, Function Brewing, Quaff ON!, Schnitz Brewery & Pub, The Tap, Twisted Crew, and Upland Brewing Company.

See our friends at Yelp for your chance to win an IN Beer Brigade membership, and don’t miss Ripple Ride for your opportunity to win a free tour.

Play games, get your face painted, then get your picture(s) taken.

Challenge your friends to a game of cornhole, get something silly or pretty on your face with Once Upon a Party, then slide on over to the NUVO GIF booth to get your pictures taken in an animated loop, to be posted the following week at

Winterfest 2015 HopCat Crack Fries cards

Get free stuff.

In addition to offering samples of select beers from some of Indiana’s best breweries, HopCat will offer free Crack Fries cards and koozies while they last.

And be sure to stop by your favorite breweries early to check out the schwag.

Learn more about brewing.

Visit Ron Smith at the Beer MBA/IUPUI booth for a crash course on what it means to brew quality beer, and find out how you can continue your education through IUPUI’s Professional Brewery Operations Certificate.

Don’t miss Great Fermentations, who will host a variety of homebrewed beer. Homebrewers will be on hand to share their tips and techniques.


We said it earlier, but this is so important that we’ll say it again: DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.

Putting yourself and others at risk is not worth it, so line up a DD, taxi, Uber, or Lyft for your ride home.

After all, you want to be able to come to another beer fest, right? So no matter where you live, consider the fact that the cost of paying someone who’s sober to drive you home safely is a heck of a lot cheaper than the alternatives.

We hope to see you at Winterfest, and we thank you for your support of Indiana beer. Cheers!

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Brewers of Indiana Guild: Drink Indiana Beer