I had been looking forward to the Buffalo Brewfest for weeks. Thirty vendors. Over 100 beers. A whole bunch of people drinking beer. Can it get better?

I went with Frank Miller, production director at WECK and producer for Reason … and about a million other people.

We showed up at HSBC at about 2 p.m., just in time for the doors to open. Only we couldn’t see the doors from the end of the line, which should have been a clue of what we were in for.

When we got into the HSBC “Pavilion” (which should be called the lobby, BTW) it was packed. We got our souvenir glasses, our 20 tokens a piece, a program and a coupon from Consumer’s Beverage.

And we got into our first line. And waited.

We each got three ounces of beer and got into another line. And waited.

Another beer. Another line. Another wait. And the crowd kept pouring into the “pavilion.”

It wasn’t long before it was just too crowded to enjoy anything. We couldn’t tell what line we were in. Couldn’t tell what the beer was until we got to the front of the line. And no matter how cold … or how yummy the beer was, it didn’t maked up for the feeling of being a sardine.

As a comment states on a previous post:

It was utterly disgusting! There was no room to move or to get a beer under 20 minutes! What a disappointment!

While the concept is phenomenal, the execution was horrible. And I can’t even imagine that they didn’t plan for that many people, cause they were still letting people in and handing out glasses as Frank and I left … at about 3:30.

In an hour and a half we had sampled seven beers each and gotten bumped into so many times I lost count.

We donated our remaining tokens to random strangers, went to the Anchor Bar and got some wings and drank a pitcher of Blue without being knocked into once.

Last year, the Brewfest was at Central Terminal, which I’m told was ample to hold just such a crowd. And next week’s big event is the Wingfest, which will be at Dunn Tire Park, which would have nicely held the crowd.

I guess what I’m saying is … location, location, location. And next year they need a new one.

3 thoughts on “Brewfest 2008: Contents under pressure”
  1. Same sentiments.

    Great concept, cause, weather and beer. Awful execution. I even think that the Aud was a great place- downown with mass transit and airconditioning, but they could have opened it up several more sections or put some beer vendors upstairs or fenced-off places outside. More vendors, taps and rooms were needed for 4,000 people.

    I showed up at 3:00, and already several vendors were sold out of some beers, and you had no idea what line you were in until 15 minutes later. I should have spent the $40 my brother and I donated at the Pizza Plant tasting several different brews.

  2. I was very excited about the Beerfest being in the HSBC arena! Thinking we’d have lotsa room, taste some great beers and maybe have a pretzel (with Webers mustard) in between tastings so we wouldn’t get the after affects of all the alchohol.

    Well, the place was dangerously crowded, good beers with lines which were way too long, elbow to elbow, no place to stand and enjoy the tasting and no snacks. No place to gather and talk.

    Come on guys, Buffalonians are so hungry for festivals. We can do a better job of taking care of the basic needs can’t we?
    Check out the Beer Fest in Hunter Mountain, Catskills, they make a whole weekend of it and charge a little more $ but provide food galore! People walk away and can’t wait for the next one!

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