Wrapup: The 1st annual Ithaca Brewers’ Fest

Right, I’m back and sufficiently recovered to detail to you, dear reader, the happenings of this beer festival from the heart of the Finger Lakes.

Ithaca’s a weird town- a melange of rich, haughty legacy students, geeky post-grads, wannabe hippie artists, and grumpy working class townies. No group really seems to get along with the other, and the hippies tend to stand out most because of their garish dress and matted dreads.

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Ithaca, NY, home of hippie nonsense

Hey, no problem. Craft beer and hippies go well together.

Of course, craft beer goes well with just about everybody, which is why I’ll never understand why festival promoters seem so surprised when thousands of people show up at their event. Starting at opening time, the entry wait for the festival stretched 45 minutes. Needless to say, not everyone got in. Although I heard nary a complaint, there seemed to be a clear disconnect between the amount of people expected and the amount of people who thronged Stewart Park.

Besides that, however, the festival was quite organized. The brewers were spread out into 5 individual tents, allowing plenty of mingling space in the center. Very capable volunteers were quick with the ice, helpful with requests, and fast on the uptake regarding the beer they were pouring. (NYS has this retarded new law in which brewery personnel can’t pour their own beer at festivals- you have to hand the job over to some kid who knows fuck-all about the beer).

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Black Dog Brewing’s Nancy Carson, with a stuffed dog

The only complaint I could muster is the U-shaped table layouts within the tents created a catchment area which made it difficult to form lines for the individual brewery taps. A better solution would be to arrange the tents side by side in two paralell lines, allowing the individual queues to extend straight out instead of forming a confused, drunken clot of humanity.

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Festival-goers evaluating the flavor characteristics of beer

My beer of the festival: Stone Ruination IPA, followed closely by Harpoon IPA. Besides tasting great, they also had the virtue of being located next to me.

Anyway, kudos to the guys from Ithaca Brewing for throwing one of the smoothest festivals I’ve attended. From Load-in to tear-down, they didn’t miss a beat, and everyone had a great time.

Except, maybe, that girl who was sitting on the grass behind a pile of her own sick. You really gotta watch that ruination IPA.

-Mark

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3 thoughts on “Wrapup: The 1st annual Ithaca Brewers’ Fest

  1. Thanks for coming out to the Brewfest!

    We learned a lot from it, that hopefully is going to make next years better, and certainly more organized. Pretty much everyone was patient and understanding, but I don’t think we’ll get as much of that luxury the second time around.

    Cheers!

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