The Brewing Network’s Winterfest a resounding success
note: pics were taken well after Winterfest at the Trappist in Oakland. Pretty much the only pics that I got that day. OK, back to it:
Last Saturday, the Brewing Network held their first beer festival at Linden Street Brewing Company in Oakland. I predicted that the BN would firmly establish themselves as a beer fest and they did. Frankly, that was an easy bet. You would understand why by walking around the festival itself. The volunteers were a whos who of Bay Area beer writers/bloggers, homebrewers, and BN faithful. The event promotion didn’t hurt either. Justin Crossley and co., including Nicole Erny headed over to UC Berkeley’s KALX to talk about the Winterfest and SF Beer Week. What was the effect? After I got off at West Oakland BART to walk to the festival I noticed a stream of college age students headed in that direction.
The organization of the event was spot on for a first effort as well. Most impressive was walking down the closed side street and seeing a sign that read “if you want beer, start here”. You couldn’t make it any easier. The event featured over 40 beers on tap and had food venders including Sean Paxton who roasted two whole pigs on site. While the crowds were huge, it never took long to get a beer or food. The lines for Sean Paxtons food were long but on the far side was a falafel stand with no line. Quick and easy way to fill the stomach. The Bay Area Mashers had a homebrew stand and the beers there were terrific. There were bands all day and other stands including a custom bicycle company and Oaklandish folks selling their clothing (yes, this native Oaklander was finally able to pick up an Oaklandish shirt).
The event lasted from 1pm to 8pm, fortunately I stuck it out and was able to grab one of the pig sandwiches in the end and I wasn’t dissapointed. Seeing how I didn’t get the clue to volunteer prior to the event, I was able to lend a hand breaking down the event in the end. The crowds cleared out easily and the running out of beer timing couldn’t have been better. By about 7-ish there were probably one or two beers on tap and the crowd was tapped out anyway. A few gentle yells of “time to go” and the place was empty.
I had the pleasure of catching an after event round of drinks at the Trappist with Justin, BNer and volunteer extroidinare Adam “badrock” Petramala, Adam of Linden Street, and several others including Adam’s partner (although we had a long great converstion I apologetically can’t remember his name….)and Paul from Bay Area Mashers. I was able to catch a couple shots and my job was done. An all day beer fest and now I had to run to the last BART train. I can only imagine how tired that crew felt.
So was there anything bad about the event? No, but they may need to go to a different venue next year to have room for the even bigger crowds.