By CRAIG WHEELER - July 28, 2014
Last weekend the rains poured down like the beer from the taps at Canalside. What I mean to say is that it didn’t stop for hours. HOURS!!!!! Well rain be damned, Josh and Rebecca accompanied me down to the Buffalo Brewers Festival put on by theBuffalo/Niagara Brewers Association. When it was all said and done with, I was soaked and maybe a little more tipsy than I would have liked. No worries; Rebecca served as our designated driver! However, the rain really didn’t bother me all that much. By the time we left the Buffalo Brewers Festival, I had tasted at least 35 different types of beer. So that rain hadn’t stopped me or the more than 1,500 Buffalonians who attended from having a good time.
While the weather was terrible, the beer was fantastic with over 80 different selections to choose from. Brewers large and small came to Canalside, such as Brooklyn, Ommegang, Flying Bison, Community Beer Works, Hamburg, Resurgence, and Rogers Beer just to name a few. Some smaller breweries brought one or two kegs of beer to sample, while some of the larger breweries brought three or four kegs and switched out when the keg was tapped. There was a VIP tent thatopened at 2 PM, which had private tastings and a pig roast as well as comfy seating. Live music played most of the time with a tent set up in the middle of Canalside with bales of hay and tables to enjoy food.
There were, of course, food trucks. The Whole Hog, and The Cheesy Chick, as well as Pizza Plant and JD’s Smokin Grill and Bars and a few others served up awesomeness, and coupled with all the fantastic beer, made the event a total success. The Tinder Box was even there selling cigars, which I was happy to sample.
The real star of this show was the beer! I will point out that I’m not a huge fan of IPAs (just a little too hoppy for me, but too each their own). Some of the IPAs had me going back for seconds!
- Shmaltz Brewing Companies – “Death Of A Contract Brewer” was a Malty IPA, with hints of chocolate and coffee that got my taste buds ready for more beer.
- Hamburg Brewing Companies – “SamuRYE” felt like a stiff kick to the face. Full and hoppy and in your face like Bruce Lee!
- Keuka Lake Brewers – “Imperial Amber Rye Ale” was by far one of the best beers I tasted with it’s flavors more subtle than an aggressive IPA. It had me going back for thirds!
My favorite beers are generally very heavy or very light; I’m not much of an in between kinda guy. Some of the porters and stouts were mind-blowing!
- Rogers Beers out of Rochester had a “Double Chocolate Porter” that tasted like a chocolate parfait in your mouth!
- Galaxy Brewing Company had a “Vanilla Porter” that was my favorite beer of the day hands down!
- Keuka Lake also had a “Saison Noir” that was to die for, which had some citrus flavor coupled with a much fuller flavor than I would have thought. It was a favorite of some of the Brewers as well!
- SingleCut Brewsmiths “Kim” was a Hibiscus Sour Lager that tasted as if you had stuck a hand full of sour gummies in your mouth! Pucker Up!
At a tasting with beer event that featured foods by Premier Gourmet and chocolates by Ben Johnson of Blue Table Chocolates, the samples were paired up with brewers who selected beers to fit the flavor profile of the food. By far, the best pairing was a dark chocolate truffle with Resurgence Brewery’s Loganberry Wit, which–when paired together–drew all the raspberry and blackberry flavors from the beer as you ate the chocolate. It was to die for! Brewers then were available to answer questions and generally talked beer when they could with the patrons!
This festival, the first of what is set to become an annual event, was there to highlight all the great things going on in Buffalo as it comes to food, brewing and sustainability. Willard Brooks, president of the Brewers Association, told me that more events are coming up this year; Buffalo’s 5th Buffalo Beer Week 2014! The events are helping to showcase a Buffalo the likes of which we haven’t seen in years–confident, full of fun, and ready to believe good things are ahead!
To learn more about the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, click on there link here - buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.org/