On June 28, I attended Gambit's FestiveALES in the Warehouse District. (Disclosure: I received two complimentary tickets from Gambit.) This was the third event Gambit organized, and the experience has improved significantly which each iteration.
One great thing this year was, with the exception of Barcadia (601 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-335-1740; www.barcadianeworleans.com), all the bars had dedicated jockey boxes to pour the FestiveALES beer away from the regular bar. This meant bartenders could take care of their regular customers while participants claimed beer samples at a dedicated station. That works for the bartenders and the event.
I was glad to see the end of the $1 upcharge beer that was part of the last two events. Formerly, three of the four beers would be included with the FestivALES ticket, but patrons had to pay for the fourth beer. None of that this year, though.++
I liked the bars that participated: Barcadia, Manning's Eat-Drink-Cheer (519 Fulton St., 504-593-8118; www.facebook.com/manningsnola) and Grand Isle (575 Convention Center Blvd., 504-520-8530; www.grandislerestaurant.com), which participated last year, and new additions Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant (701 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-523-8995; www.lucysretiredsurfers.com), Fulton Alley (600 Fulton St., 504-208-5569; www.fultonalley.com), Lafayette Pub & Bistro (Ambassador Hotel, 535 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-527-5271; www.ambassadorneworleans.com) and Gordon Biersch (200 Poydras St., 504-552-2739; www.gordonbiersch.com).
I have two suggestions for next year. The event should have some XXL T-shirts to give away; and late June is deep into summer for a drinking and walking event. I thought it was great that there were several places along the way to get free bottled water, though. And I appreciate that it's hard to schedule events before summer begins without running into festivals. It was hot, but drinking, laughing and talking about beer is what the beer scene is all about.