This might sound silly or it might even be common sense, but before you just show up and start sampling things aged in barrels or infused with oysters or finished with spruce tips...I really encourage you to volunteer at these events. I worked at a great festival this weekend with the intention of really trying to learn a thing or two and it worked! I have poured before during the event but really only with the intention of getting in free (another great benefit of volunteering). This weekend I was able to visit with small brewers 3 hours before the event even opened. I compared notes on their jockey boxes and looked at how they transported their items. I also met 2 owners just starting out, one open for about a year, and one opening in the next 2 months. These were recent homebrewers now going pro. And like most in the craft industry, they were happy to share what they had learned. I know I shouldn't have been surprised but they gladly taught about their first SMaSH, the reason they always boil their IPA for 90 minutes with 15-minute hop additions, why rye is underutilized by the homebrewer, and how jalapenos go really well with root beer...