Copenhagen Beer Celebration, Boston
No matter what the festival is, you’ll always hear someone complaining. Some make a good point, others come off as whining babies. I spent the weekend at the Copenhagen Beer Celebration and here’s the break-down on the fest.
I want to point out that this was the first time for this festival. That said, all in all it was a good time. City Hall Plaza Boston is damn near the perfect location, having a T stop right there, UBER everywhere, and plenty to do before and after the fest. Cobblestone streets bring you to places like The Green Dragon, and The Bell In Hand; a place that’s been pouring beer since 1795. If you attended this event and didn’t spend time at any of the local spots, you really missed out! I’m enjoying the new style of beer fest that’s combining beer with food and entertainment, and not just trying to crush your liver with massive amounts of high ABV beer. CBC organizers did an excellent job of booking a pretty well rounded group of bands and people were actually taking breaks from the beer to listen. The acoustics of the place were also a bonus, planned or not, because it enabled attendees to hear the bands from all points. Some of the standouts of the event for me were Bokkereyder, Alefarm Brewing, Arizona Wilderness (yes, he does look a lot like Greg Koch), Casita, Superstition Meadery, and I would be doing everyone a disservice if I didn’t tell you just how awesome the Cherry wine from Frederiksdal Kirsebaervin was. (I’ll only admit to going back five times)
Photo credit: Theis Mortensen
So here’s the part of the CBC fest that caused a little confusion, even for me. The breweries and beer list looks great, but what threw people was that ONLY in the FAQ section of the event’s ticketing page on Eventbright did it say “Are all the beers the same at each session? No. Each brewer will rotate one or two styles per session, making each session unique.” People who showed up on the first session thinking they would be able to sample beers like Zhukov’s Final Push from Cigar City, Arthur from Hill Farmstead, or Wicked Weed’s Black Angel came away disappointed. Each session had people disappointed by this omission. The only reason I can think of for CBC to not list what beer would be available on what day, or even that the tap list changed by session, is fear of one session being a wild sellout while the others didn’t sell. I’m sure that the event organizers have heard what people have said about this and will adjust next time. There really was excellent beer available for each session, but I can see how someone who had their heart set on a particular one could be upset. Breweries like Bokkereyder had large lines throughout the fest for a reason, but many people passed on so much excellent beer! FOMO was a real thing at this fest, and nothing makes people suffer from it more than a long line. Anyone who’s been to a few beer fests will tell you this; you paid for all the beer at the fest, you should try all the beer at the fest! People! You don’t have to drink every ounce of beer in your glass. Talk to the staff and ask for a half pour if you’re not sure of a style- the brewer reps won’t be mad! But for sure if there’s a brewery you aren’t familiar with you absolutely should be sampling their beer!
Tokens?! We don’t want no steenking tokens!!
Tokens. Why? I don’t know. For a fest that seemed so progressive, this is really an old school way of doing things. I had bought VIP tickets for this fest, as I do for just about every fest I go to. Usually it’s the best deal (in my opinion). Look at it from this perspective; Beer fests aren’t about chugging beer like a frat boy during rush week. They are about the experience. So many fests, and for that matter fest attendees miss this point. This is why I really looked forward to the CBC. I expected just a little more of a VIP experience than getting in a little early and having “rare beer” that wasn’t available to general admission. Granted, VIP, or “Guld” as the CBC called it, didn’t have to purchase tokens to sample, and there were those exclusive port-o-pottys, but still the $75 difference made me feel a little like I was tricked. I haven’t had the chance to go to the War Pigs bar yet. I’m sure it’s cool. The five beers in the VIP area were only from War Pigs…. You see where I’m going with this? Combine this with the fact that not all breweries were collecting tokens and you can see that the VIP experience was not what it could have been. And should have been.
Photo Credit: Theis Mortensen
The ugly truth…
Agree with me or not, this was a good beer fest. It was organized, went off with no major glitches, and at the end of each session people were talking about the beer and bands. Yes, there were some issues, and yes, some people bashed it all over social media. You can complain that you didn’t get to try Hunahpu, or Dark Lord. You can say that the tickets were too expensive considering you had to purchase additional tokens. Yes, more and centralized rinse stations would have been good, and signage on the tent edge with not only the brewery, but what beer was pouring could have been helpful. I think that considering it was a first time fest, we can all expect great things to happen next time around. Personally I hope there is a next time.