Buffalo Beer Week 2015 Recap

Another Buffalo Beer week came to a close this Sunday, and another week of recovery for brewers, beer geeks, and beer lovers alike.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but my liver inquired about a vacation and the rest of my body asked for some sleep.  If I had time for a nap I would take one, and if beer didn’t taste so good …

Surely we can’t be at all the events that went down during Buffalo Beer Week, which truth be told is more than a week, as it should be, but I damn sure tried to be at everything I could.  If it’s a social event including beer and shenanigans it’s likely that I’ll do my best to be there.  Here’s a quick recap of some of the highlights from one foggy perspective (ok, so sometimes it seemed more like two perspectives, but I assure you it was just one).

Local Brewery Shuffleboard

While 12 Gates Brewing wasn’t competing in the shuffleboard tournament I couldn’t bear to not cheer on my fellow brewers.  Unfortunately, Community Beer Works failed to bring their shuffleboard A-game and were sadly dismissed in the first round by Matt and Jimmy of Woodcock Brothers.  As we will see later, shuffleboard losses were an unfortunate pattern for CBW’s Drew Hardin during Beer Week.

It was tiresome competition from some of Buffalo’s finest brewers, including Resurgence, Big Ditch, Woodcock Brothers, CBW, Gene McCarthy’s, and even Olean’s 4 Mile (these guys definitely won in style points).  In the end it was Woodcock that came up victorious in a hard fought match against 4 Mile Brewing.

It wasn’t all about shuffleboard though, as each brewery brought a beer for the upstairs taplist.  My personal favorite was the porter brewed by Woodcock Brothers.

Ballpark Brew Bash

What can I say, I think BBW peaked early at the Brew Bash, but I’m not complaining.  This was hands down one of my all-time favorite public beer festivals/events.  I could have been a little biased being on the other side table for the first time, but nonetheless there was some stellar beer, and a wide variety from locals at the event.

We brought a one-off batch of our Niagara Pale Ale (5.5% abv) using 100% NYS malts from Niagara Malt, owned and operated by Bob Johnson, as well as some Cascade whole hops from Bob as well.  The remainder of the hop bill was El Dorado and Simcoe, not from the NYS region.  We also had our collaboration Double IPA (8.5% abv) with CBW in support of the Ales for ALS charity being poured at the CBW tent.

Some highlights were the Utica Club Lounge, Nickelbrook Brewing had some delicious Headstock IPA and Winey Bastard Imperial Stout, CBW’s Shuck Norris Oyster Stout – a concoction of Drew Hardin’s using an egregious amount of oysters, Hamburg Oktoberfest, Pearl Street Oktoberfest, Allegany IPA, and Flying Monkey ESB, to name a few.

And then there was the after-party for brewery and vendor staff.  I don’t want to brag, but there was a lot of Cantillon.  So much Cantillon that one fellow brewer may have been photographed chugging it right from the bottle, alongside pints of KBS and Jolly Pumpkin.  It was about this point that I stopped taking notes.

Needless to say if you missed the Ballpark Brew Bash this year you must check it out next year.  It will only continue to get better.

Dogfish Head Choc Lobster Brunch

The morning after Ballpark Brew Bash Blue Monk held the Choc Lobster Brunch.  I didn’t take part in the food portion of this brunch, as it was a little unsettling in my present state, but I had to know what was going on with the Dogfish Head Choc Lobster.  Here is the description right from Dogfish Head, and as you can imagine it’s a bit out there:

This scaled up batch has a robust porter base and was brewed with live lobsters, which were added directly to the boil to cook of for the kitchen.  Along with lobsters over 6 pounds of dark cocoa powder were added to the whirlpool, along with a basil tea that was added to compliment both the chocolate and lobster.

All said and done, it was alright.  It tasted like a robust porter with a mildly oily mouthfeel from the shellfish that clearly diminished the head retention.  There was a clear brine/salty taste in both the front of the palette and the finish, along with a thin chocolate and smoke character true to the robust porter style.  All-in-all it was a decent porter with a very distinct twist, but I didn’t go back for seconds.

Dixieland Style Funeral for Rutherford B. Haze

CBW once again put their seasonal Belgian Pale Ale Rutherford B. Haze to rest until next spring at Hot Mama’s Canteen on Amherst St. in a true to style Dixieland funeral, procession and all.  Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate and everyone just gathered inside Hot Mama’s for music, shuffleboard, and of course some Rutherford B. Haze.

The CBW guys were all dressed for the moment of reflection and mourning as Rutherford’s pine box was laid to rest.  And, Drew lost yet another game of shuffleboard to yours truly in a landslide victory.

12 Gates Brewing at Kegworks, Helldorado, and Steve Beaumont

On Wednesday evening Blue Monk held the Firestone Walker Helldorado tapping, Pizza Plant brought in acclaimed beer writer, reviewer, and blogger Steve Beaumont, and we had a tasting event at Kegworks on Military Rd.  I can’t comment on either the Helldorado or the Beaumont events, but I heard they were an ok time, comparatively to the Kegworks tasting for 12 Gates of course.

Buffalo Beer Goddesses 3rd Anniversary Party

Who doesn’t love girls that love beer?  Is it possible?

The Buffalo Beer Goddesses held their annual anniversary party with a tasting from Leonard Oakes Winery in the upstairs bar at Goodbar on Thursday evening.  The girls put up some nice swag for the raffle giveaways, with the overwhelming majority of prizes going to the men in the room.  Sorry girls.  Frankly by the time it got to the grand prize I was hoping not to get picked, as I feared a beat down was coming to the next guy to get up on the stage.

Leonard Oakes brought bottles of Steampunk and Eloquince cider, along with a sour collaboration with Woodcock Brothers aged in pinot noir barrels.  My favorite is surely the Eloquince, but all three are very nice options.

And, it was with this event that I tapped out of Buffalo Beer Week events.  My body was done, my liver was pleading to me, and I was beginning to show signs of moving from a small brewer’s shirt to a medium.  Time to run and relax.

I bid you ado Buffalo Beer Week 2015.  Until next year, and in the meantime my liver will be doing a regimented bout of push-ups in training for yet another rigorous feat of beer athleticism, sleep deprivation, and shuffleboard domination.