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Brew-Tally Prepared: TheEscapePlan for uncovering the best tips for The 2023 Atlantic City Beerfest

Updated: Jan 10

They say you should never meet your heroes, but “they” probably aren’t craft beer enthusiasts who got to talk about all things beer with the man behind the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival. We reached out to Jon Henderson, the Founder/CEO/Executive Producer of Good Time Tricycle Productions, hoping to get his best tip for navigating the festival. Much to our surprise, and unbridled excitement, Jon made a very generous offer to call and chat with us. In our 15 times attending the event, and through much trial and error, we’ve established several expert strategies for maximizing our experience. After speaking to Jon, we feel confident that we’ve developed what is quite possibly the most comprehensive survival guide (to our knowledge, it’s also the only of its kind) for the AC Beer and Music Festival.

PHASE ONE: Decide which session(s) you want to attend, and buy your ticket.

Tickets are facilitated by If you prefer a paper ticket to a digital one, or if you want to avoid service fees, tickets are also available at Buy Rite Wine and Liquor in Williamstown, West Deptford, and Hammonton, NJ.

Additional information about what is included with General Admission, VIP Admission, Jitney packages (more to come on that, below), Designated Driver tickets, and Group Sales can be found at Pop-up ticket sales are happening at points of interest in the South Jersey area, check out @acbeerfest on Instagram for announcements.

While the breweries, beer selections, vendors, food offerings, and activities are largely the same across both sessions, the main difference between them is the headlining band. Dropkick Murphys will play session #1 on Saturday, June 3, and 311 will perform at session #2 on Sunday, June 4. Supporting acts for both sessions are still TBD.

PHASE TWO: Find and reserve a place to stay.

If you’re local to the city, or have a designated driver accompanying you to the fest, this might not apply to you. If you need a place to stay, there is no shortage of options. The AC Beer Fest is being presented, yet again, by Ocean Casino Resort. If you’ve been following us, you know this is our favorite boardwalk resort, and our recommendation for lodging. The event holders also recommend several other casino hotels, as well as the Sheraton at the AC Convention Center, and Cozy CoHost Airbnb. You can find booking links specific to the event at

Of course, if none of these fit your specific needs, there are plenty of other hotels, motels, and vacation rentals (e.g. Airbnb and Vrbo) throughout the city.

PHASE THREE: And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

You have several options for transportation to and from the event. There is parking at Bader Field for $20. It goes without saying that you should not drink and drive, and we can’t think of a reason anyone without a DD would utilize this lot.

Jon recommends purchasing a Jitney package, which includes pick up at a location within 50 miles of the festival, drop off at Bader Field and back to your original location, 13 General Admission tickets, and seating for up to 13 passengers.

We travel to and from Bader Field via rideshare. As VIP ticketholders, we have early admission, and we show up 30-45 minutes before doors to secure a good spot in line and to avoid demand-related delays/surge pricing. There is a Jitney/rideshare loop at the back of the event space for drop off and pick up. Look out for signage, if you haven’t used it before.

PHASE FOUR: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Both sessions run 4 hours each (Saturday, June 3, from 2-6pm, and Sunday, June 4, from 12-4pm), with early entry 30 minutes prior for VIP ticketholders. We assure you that you’ll be able to sample as much as your little heart desires, so long as you don’t have aspirations to try all 400+ beers being tapped. This isn’t your 21st birthday (unless it is, in which case, go off, fam), and it’s important to pace yourself. You can easily pound a bunch of 2oz beers with very little wait in between, and go from 0 to hammered at record speed. As late 30-somethings who appreciate beer and go to festivals to discover and enjoy new ones, this approach just isn’t for us.

We each have a strategy that prevents us from drinking too much, too fast, and improves our overall experience. TJ likes to transition from lighter beers, like lagers and hefeweizens, to dark beers such as stouts, brown ales, and double IPAs. Andrea tries to stick to one or two similar styles of beer, unless something else really piques her interest. Since the festival moved from a spring event, indoors at the Convention Center, to a summer event, outdoors at Bader Field, she’s been focused on trying sours and saisons. They’re seasonal styles, and also less plentiful options throughout the fest, which helps with pacing. Taking your time and being selective with your samples also helps you avoid palate fatigue (it’s a real thing, Jon Henderson told us so), which occurs when tasting a large number of the same types of things. When you take breaks between tastings, you essentially clear your brain’s browser history and reboot your tastebuds. Jon likes to look for beers and breweries he’s never seen before, try those out first, and then go back to visit “old friends.”

PHASE FIVE: An ounce of prevention is worth a pint of cure.

Hydrate before the fest. Hydrate throughout. Hydrate after. Buy some Waterboy packets from our Amazon store and add them to your water bottle, for an extra boost. Guests are permitted to bring 1 sealed water bottle or an empty refillable water bottle.

Don’t show up on an empty stomach. We like to put down a base of Vietnamese pho from Noodles of the World at Borgata an hour or two in advance. Our research shows high water content foods, as well as starches, set the stomach up for success. Jon prefers a slice of pizza beforehand. We all agree that it’s best to have a light meal and then snack around at the festival. Some of the best restaurants in the city set up shop on Bader Field for the weekend, and the wide variety of options are an experience in and of themselves.

Wear sunscreen (also consider SPF lip balm also in our store), sunglasses, and comfortable shoes. This one is self-explanatory.

Cash is king, although cards and electronic payments are sometimes accepted. This is at the discretion of the vendor, and also hinges on the reliability of the Internet. With tens of thousands of people all trying to use their phones at once, we’ve had issues with Internet service, in the past. There are ATMs on site, for your convenience.

While we’re on the topic of cell phones and Internet, we suggest having a designated meeting place for your group, should you get separated. Ours is the sandcastle. You’re welcome.

PHASE SIX: Plan for pre- and post-festival fun.

In addition to the Swing Oil Mini-Golf Classic at North Beach Mini Golf on Friday, June 2, and the Hops Trot 5k Run on Sunday, June 4, there will be several pre- and post-fest events announced next month. Follow us @the.escape.plans on Instagram for all the latest updates.

After 4+ hours of sampling, walking, and building up an appetite, check out one of our favorite spots for dinner. Tony’s Baltimore Grill

and Bill’s Gyro & Souvlaki have some of the best food in the city at affordable prices, and both are open 24 hours. White House Subs makes the most perfect Italian hoagies we’ve ever had, and they have locations on Arctic Avenue and at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (open late). If you haven’t had enough craft beer, or if you want to sample a variety of wing sauces instead, Wingcraft is a great option for both.

Now, for the dreaded morning after. Caffeinate at Hayday Coffee. Grab a breakfast sandwich from Hot Bagels and More. Order any combination of loaded fries, pizza, and insanely innovative sandwiches from Tony Boloney’s, bring your haul home, reheat, and enjoy while you comfort watch Ted Lasso.

In talking to Jon, it was evident that the AC Beer and Music Festival was built on key elements of his personality. It caters to curiosity, open-mindedness, and good vibes. When we asked Jon what he wants people to take away from this survival guide, it was this: “Come out and have a good time. Make new friends over common ground. We’re all friends, chilling out, drinking beer.”

If you have any questions that weren’t answered here, please send us an email or DM us on Instagram or Facebook. Cheers!

Don't forget to check out all of our other FREE itineraries for great plans on how to spend your visit to Atlantic City! CLICK HERE!

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