Day-Of Guide: Unlabeled No. 1: Hazy IPA

Doesn’t blind-tasting look like fun? // Photo by TJ Turner 

We’re beyond excited for you to join us at Upper Landing Park on Thursday night for the Midwest’s first blind-tasting beer festival: Unlabeled No. 1: Hazy IPA!

Since this is a brand-new type of festival, we wanted to make sure that you’re armed with all the information you need to make your evening a memorable one. After you’ve purchased your tickets, follow our guide below.

Download our Unlabeled App and try it out

Our Unlabeled app is an essential part of our blind-tasting festival experience, allowing you to rate the beers you’ll be sampling on-the-fly and submit your scores to us so that we can crown our “Best of Show” Hazy IPA at the end of the night. We strongly recommend you download the Unlabeled app right now from the App Store or Google Play so you can familiarize yourself with the scoring process and our Hazy IPA style guide.

The Unlabeled app also contains loads of helpful information about festival logistics, including a map of the festival’s layout, FAQs, a full list of participating breweries and food options, and even a quiz to test your Beer IQ.

Make a plan to get there (and get home)

Upper Landing Park is located near the intersection of Shepard Road and Eagle Parkway on the banks of the Mississippi in downtown St. Paul. There are several parking garages located nearby, including the Science Museum of Minnesota’s parking garage, which is offering a discounted rate and overnight parking to Unlabeled participants (vehicles must be removed by 7am on 7/19).

As always, we strongly recommend taking alternative modes of transportation to Unlabeled No. 1, and that’s why we’re partnering with Metro Transit to offer you a free ride to and from our festival. Click here to obtain your free bus pass!

For more parking and travel information, click here. 

Don’t go hungry

While we don’t allow outside food at Unlabeled No. 1, we’re encouraging all of our festival attendees to stop by one of our food truck partners to fuel up and give their palates a break from all those hops. We’ll be joined by Habenero TacosMed Box Grill and Potter’s Pasties.

Pro Tip: Snack-laces will also be permitted and are an excellent way to prevent palate-fatigue. Neutral, salty snacks like pretzels are your best bet, but we wouldn’t begrudge you a Cheez-It or two.

Plan for the weather

Unlabeled No. 1 is a rain-or-shine outdoor event. We recommend dressing appropriately for the temperature and conditions, and hydrating as much as possible. Sealed water bottles and empty water bottles will be allowed into Unlabeled No. 1, and we’ll be turning our big red DivCo truck into a water trailer for you to fill your bottles from.

Be ready at our front gate for a smooth entry

  • When you get to our front gate at Unlabeled No. 1, our first step will be to have one of our ambassadors check your ID.
  • Once you’ve been carded, we’ll provide you with your wristband (General Admission or Designated Driver).
  • After you’ve obtained your wristband, make sure your ticket is unfolded and ready to be scanned by our ambassadors. To speed up the process, we strongly recommend you purchase your tickets in advance and print them at home. If you’re using a digital ticket, please have it ready and set your screen’s brightness to maximum.
  • Tickets for Unlabeled No. 1: Hazy IPA and for Unlabeled No. 2: Oktoberfest (happening September 20) will also be available for purchase at the gate.
  • If you’ve brought a bag, our security staff will search it.
  • Once you’ve been cleared by our ticket scanners, our ambassadors will hand you a flight paddle and you’ll be ready to sample!

Study how to sample

While you’re certainly welcome to create your own sampling strategy for Unlabeled No. 1, our friends at the BJCP have shared a few tips on how to blind-taste like a pro:

  • Appearance: Take a look at the beer in the glass. It should be yellow to gold in color, hazy to opaque in clarity, and free of any floating sediment.
  • Aroma: Don’t be afraid to get your nose deep into your sampling glass and take a sniff or three. You should smell a juicy hop aroma similar to tropical fruit, stone fruit, or melons.
  • Flavor: Sniff, then sip, with your nose still near the glass. Repeat. Swish the beer around in your mouth, paying attention to how the flavor changes as it moves toward the back of your tongue. It should be hoppy and juicy without assaulting your palate.
  • Mouthfeel: Let the beer linger in your mouth for a moment, noting carbonation and alcohol “burn.”

As you’re sampling, make sure to note all of the above qualities, plus any subjective notes that you’d like to remember later, in our Unlabeled app.

Visit our Education tent

Our goal for Unlabeled No. 1 isn’t just to provide you with a fun beer festival experience, we also want you to leave Upper Landing Park as an informed and empowered consumer. That’s why we’re offering a variety of opportunities to learn more about beer at our education tent.

We’ll have official BJCP judges available to offer advice and answer questions about the fine details of beer tasting and style guidelines. Our friends at Mighty Axe Hops will be demonstrating some of the unique characteristics of Minnesota-grown hops, and how they’re used in Hazy IPAs.

In addition to our education tent, you can also meet Growler staff and talk shop over at the Growler Tent.

Jumbo Beer Pong at Summer Beer Dabbler 2018 // Photo by Aaron Job

Take a break and play a game

Take it from our pros at the BJCP: it’s important not to overtax your palate (or your brain) at a blind-tasting event of this size. Stop by our game of Giant Beer Pong and see if you can hurl a dodgeball better than your friends, or play a game of Hammerschlagen™, but watch your fingers! You’re gonna need ’em to use your Unlabeled app!

Speaking of our app, you can use our Photo Booth feature to snap a selfie or a Mississippi river scene and share it with your friends to let them know how much fun you’re having at Unlabeled.

End of the night

Our sampling for Unlabeled No. 1 ends promptly at 9pm, and that’s also when we’ll be closing our ratings and tabulating our scores so we can determine which beer will win Best of Show. We’ll be announcing our Best of Show honors at roughly 9:15pm at the Growler Tent.

After that, it’s up to you to get home safe via Metro Transit, rideshare services, or a planned ride home with DDI.

We hope you have a blast at Unlabeled No. 1, and we can’t wait to see you on Thursday Night!