Beginning on Thursday, September 22 and running through Sunday, October 2, Buffalo Beer Week is a 10-day showcase of Buffalo’s breweries, restaurants, pubs, and other beer-centric businesses via a plethora of events such as beer dinners, tastings at your local pub, the seventh annual Ballpark Brew Bash beer festival at Coca Cola Field (September 24), and nearly everything in between. This year’s theme is “Big Tent Buffalo,” shining the spotlight on the breadth of the craft beer scene that Buffalo and the greater community embraces and exemplifies. The majority of the festival’s feature events will benefit charities.
“We encourage venues to plan events that highlight and promote inclusiveness. All are welcome and there’s plenty of room in the big tent of craft beer for all of us,” said Willard Brooks, president of Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, which organizes the annual festival. “Since its inception in 2007, Buffalo Beer Week has become one of the most highly anticipated craft beer celebrations in the region and the various events continue to bring visitors from across Upstate New York, Southern Ontario, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to Western New York.”
Things get underway Thursday, September 22 at Big Ditch Brewing Company with the second annual Brewers Shuffleboard Tournament, as 11 local breweries square off on the shuffleboard table. Defending champs Woodcock Brothers Brewing have earned a bye in the first round, as have Resurgence Brewing, Four Mile Brewing, and Big Ditch, while 42 North Brewing takes on New York Beer Project, Community Beer Works battles Pearl Street, and Old First Ward and Gordon Biersch meet. This event will also feature the debut of Wise PA, brewed for late beer blogger Kevin Wise and the result of the largest beer collaboration in Buffalo history. Sales of the memorial beer will go to benefit the Wise family.
The next night, Buffalo Beer Week officially kicks off at an intimate Meet the Brewer night at the Adam Mickiewicz Library & Dramatic Circle. More than 15 of your favorite regional breweries will be on hand serving their latest offerings with a portion of the nights’ proceeds going to Torn Space Theater. The event starts at 7pm. There will also be live music.
The 2016 Ballpark Brew Bash will take place Saturday, September 24 at Coca Cola Field (general admission, $25, 4-7pm, VIP, $75, 3-7pm). The event, sponsored by Consumers Beverages, will feature more than 50 breweries from across the globe, including Allagash, Firestone Walker, Flying Monkeys, and Stone, local favorites like Resurgence, 12 Gates Brewing, and Pearl Street and New York institutions like Genesee, Southern Tier, and Ommegang. Tickets are available at Consumer’s Beverages, the Buffalo Bisons ticket office and online at Tickets.com. For more details, visit ballparkbrewbash.com.
There’s no shortage of feature events throughout Buffalo Beer Week, including:
- Dunkfest , September 24, 1pm, Gene McCarthy’s: Eat clams and corn, drink OFW beer, and take your shot at dunking Willard Brooks, president of Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association, in a dunk tank at this unique event that benefits the Old First Ward Community Center.
- Cigar & Beer Pairing , September 25, 1pm, Hamburg Brewing: Enjoy Hamburg Brewing beers paired with Arturo Fuente cigars brought to you by Smokers Haven Cigar shop. This is also a fundraiser for the Cigars for Warriors Foundation.
- Vines & Bines , September 26, 6pm, at Big Ditch: A five -ourse dinner featuring each course expertly paired with beer from Big Ditch and wine from Leonard Oakes Estate Winery. Presented by the Nittany Epicurean, this event is limited to 50 attendees. Each ticket is $80/person (plus tax and gratuity) and portion of proceeds benefit Slow Food Buffalo Niagara. Tickets at Eventbrite.com.
- German Brewmasters Dinner , September 27, 6pm, Gordon Biersch: Featuring four courses paired with five Gordon Biersch beers, partial proceeds will go to benefit the Buffalo Dortmund Sister City Committee. The Brewmasters Dinner is $50 and reservations are required and can be made by calling (716) 683-0050.
- Beer & Cheese: In Perfect Harmony , September 28, 6pm, Flying Bison: Featuring eight different beer and cheese pairings curated by Michelle from Buffalo Cheese Traders, Amanda from Premier Gourmet’s Cheese Department, and Ethan, head of Premier’s Beer Department. All proceeds from ticket sales and $2 from each additional beer sold will go directly to SOLE of Buffalo. Tickets are $30 and are available at Eventbrite.com.
- FemALE Beer Release , September 29, Rusty Nickel Brewing, 6pm: An albino stout brewed and handled exclusively by the West Seneca brewery’s female staff. This event benefits the Breast Cancer Resource Center at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Look for part two of our Buffalo Beer Week coverage in next week’s issue. For more information and to find a full listing of all Buffalo Beer Week events, please visit buffalobeerweek.com. For more information regarding the BNBA, visit buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.org.