Monday, September 15, 2008

NY Brewfest 2008 - Plenty of Port-a-Potties

Beer festivals are absolutely fantastic, in theory. The idea - you get to choose from hundreds of different beers and try any and all that you like as many times as you want - from your very own 4 oz. souvenir glass.

Ideally, bathrooms would be plentiful, the selection of beers would be impressive, crowds would be thin and courteous, and the venue would not smell like urine. And finally, that venue would protect you from Mother Nature's fickleness.

The NY Brewfest - at South Street Seaport this past Friday - succeeded on 2 out of the 5 criteria above.

I've only been to one other true beer festival - TAP New York 2007 at Hunter Mountain - and although there weren't any children in strollers at the NY Brewfest, both festivals were similar in many respects:

a) Impossible to get your money's worth - entrance fee for both was around 50 bucks. You'll try your best, by downing as many samples as possible, but you'll never be able to down 200 samples.

b) Meatheads, frat boys, and sorority chicks flock to these events to get "wasted" on "the new Michelob malt liquor" or "that fuckin' awesome Creme Brulee Stout." Seriously though, Southern Tier Brewery had a creme brulee beer that tasted like dessert. It was a little nasty. And the crowd was going buckwild for it.

c) They allow way too many people into the event. It's hard to move around. You have to wait in line for the better beers. The bathrooms are crowded. I'd rather pay a higher entrance fee, and be able to move about more freely.

Specifically, the NY Brewfest had a few more issues worth noting.

First off, there was no food included in the entry price. Spanky's BBQ was there, slinging hot dogs and pulled pork, but you had to pay extra for it. They should have at least offered some pretzels or bread - anything to soak up the alcohol. Without food in their stomachs, meatheads get very drunk, very fast.

Secondly, it rained like a bitch all night long. 80% of the festival was out in open on piers 16 and 17. The beer vendors themselves were under tents, but there was very little covered space. 20% of the festival remained warm and dry under the ominous overpass of the FDR Expressway. This area was totally packed and impossible to walk through. Next time, hold it in the Javits Center. Or the Met.

Third, and on the bright side, there were more than enough portable toilets for everyone. You had to wait in short lines near the crowded part of the festival, but if you walked towards the area with the Polish beer that nobody wanted to drink, then you could quickly find a place to piss.

And finally - and most perplexing - I had one of the most wicked hangover headaches on Saturday after drinking a total of maybe 5 or 6 beers of the course of 3.5 hours. Normally, that amount of beer would not cause such a severe reaction, and in fact, I would barely even feel it the next day. I know my limits. But for some reason, both me and my brewfest playdate Greg felt horrible the following day - as I discovered when we met up to drink more beer and watch football yesterday. We both marveled at the intensity of our hangovers from the Friday festival.

Could it be that they didn't clean the taps and lines from last year? Or maybe they cleaned them too well, and left a good amount of bleach in the dispensing equipment? Did Dogfish Head slip a little antifreeze into their Festina Peche Ale?

I don't know - and now that my liver has processed whatever toxins I consumed on Friday, we'll probably never know the answer. And so the question goes out to all others who joined in this event: Did you feel like shit on Saturday?

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Subscribe to my sweet feed


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dennis said...

Since I'm not much of a beer drinker, I would probably have died on Saturday. Go to sleep Friday with a hangover and the next thing you know, in a coffin on Monday.