Brewfests. They continue to grow in popularity making them bigger and better. With the pros, however, come the cons. For with the ever expanding beer lists and brewery participants come the expanding crowds, longer waits in line, and, the big one, the enormous jump in price. If you’ll put on your old curmudgeonly hat right now you can join us in shaking our fist and yelling how we remember the good old days!
We remember our first brewfest, the now defunct NY Brewfest at the South Street Seaport all the way back in 2006. What a glorious event it was, taking place on a warmish September Friday evening by the water. Back in my day I believe entry was ~$40 for 4 hours of all you can drink deliciousness and live music in tandem with Q104.3. Good times were had by all and many a craft beer was consumed (even in the torrential downpour at brewfest 3.0.) The price went up a little each year for the next two culminating in a $55 price tag for what would be the final (and horrendously disastrous) NY Brewfest on Governors Island. This ticket included 4 and a half hours of drink time (!!!) and free shuttle service on the Governors Island ferry on top of the usual commemorative tasting glass. For an extra $20, $75 total, you could upgrade to the Connoisseur’s Pass, upgrading your drinking time to 5 and a half hours and a fancier tasting glass.*
Fast forward to the current day and you’ve got festivals like NYC Craft Beer Festival** which usually holds 4 events per year, one for each season. The last one we attended, Summer Jazz, which took place at Webster Hall in NYC, was, as you can see in the attached picture, , was $65 for early bird, $75 for Advance, and $85 at the door for the VIP. What it doesn’t show is that the VIP is now only 3 and a half hours and the regular entry only 2 and a half, a far cry from the old days. Commence fist shaking. Once they let us in a good number of the breweries weren’t ready to pour yet and some people weren’t even set up at all. Halfway through the VIP hour the lines started to get long, waits increased for beer and the bathroom, and it became harder to move around in general. We left after about 2 hours because of the massive crowd clogging up every path. To us, it had finally jumped the shark and just wasn’t worth it anymore.
Now we can remove our old curmudgeonly hats and put on our innovative creative hats. Seeing the hassle that now comes with these brewfests we decided to have our own fest, or beerfriendst if you will, at one of our houses. Everyone was to bring a couple six packs of something they have never had or that looked interesting or a package of mixed singles if they were lucky enough to live near a place that sold them. Beer was refrigerated and great times were had by all. This way we could not only avoid lines and high prices but also control our own speed of drinking and level of drunkenness while also being able to better enjoy the company of friends. No rushing from booth to booth to try and beat a line or chugging down a beer because you wanted to get the next one before it kicked. While this isn’t an original idea nor the first time anyone has done this we felt accomplished and satisfied.
We ended up sampling 21 different beers amongst our small group, a resounding success. We look forward to the next one!
For a complete list of the beers that we sampled you can click here or check us out on Tumblr or Instagram. You can also stay up to date on TapHappy goings on on Twitter and Untappd.