Copenhagen Beer Fest 2017 - Boston City Hall Plaza

Discussion in 'US - Northeast' started by wilky1, Jun 29, 2017.

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  1. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Aspirant (277) Nov 6, 2010 Canada (BC)

    I went to the night session Saturday, GA. I think the complaints are unwarranted for the most part. No chance I was waiting in the Bokkereyder line. Or OH or Trillium or Veil or Tired Hands because they're not styles for which I particularly care about (ask me my real opinion on the style another time).

    If you were only after hazy IPA's and waiting in the longest lines, sure you're disappointed. But I drank Cloudwater and Oxbow and Jester King and Fonta Flora and Boneyard etc etc etc. All great beers.

    I'd go top three beers like this: (1) Abnormal 95 to Infinity (2) Fonta Flora dandelion saison (3) Cloudwater something something.

    But I will say this with emphasis: if you didn't get the falafel from the NYC food truck then you are a big huge dummy.
  2. NewmansOwn

    NewmansOwn Disciple (366) Jun 25, 2016 New York

    I went to the same session and have pretty mixed feelings about it. I went straight for Bottle Logic as I really wanted to try Fundamnetal Observation. By the time I got through their smallish line, Bokkereyder's line was to the gate. I tried a couple more beers then decided to get in the line to see what all the fuss was about. I hadnt heard of them until reading this thread. While the line was long, it moved fairly quickly and I got to try their lambic (was it supposed to be warm) and the kriek. Both were good. I then worked my way around the rest of the fest. Biggest issue was that less than halfway through the fest, brewers started to run out of beer. That's just unacceptable to me. The Veil should be ashamed, but I was also pretty bummed to miss out on Jester King and some other good breweries. Maybe next year I'll do the VIP but you shouldnt have to splurge just so that you dont miss out on beer. I left at 830 because I'd tasted pretty much everything that hadnt kicked. The Bokkereyder line to watch them open a big bottle was the biggest circle jerk I've ever seen, and from some of the comments here I think they should change the name to Bokkereyder Fest next year. Lastly, how do you not put a light above the toilets???

    I had a good time and think it was worth the money, just had a couple of complaints that I think are totally warranted. Brewers should bring more beer next time.
    sandman3479 and mrmattosgood like this.
  3. oldbean

    oldbean Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    Nice, Number Crunch might have been the best beer I had at the whole fest.
    BomberJjr likes this.
  4. sandman3479

    sandman3479 Initiate (0) Dec 8, 2006 Connecticut

    Same thing happened at the night session.
  5. sandman3479

    sandman3479 Initiate (0) Dec 8, 2006 Connecticut

    Raf, the owner/brewer was also walking around killing Coors Light long neck bottles in the night session.
  6. sandman3479

    sandman3479 Initiate (0) Dec 8, 2006 Connecticut

    I went in the 3rd session and FO was out, which is fine, but the girl pouring was extremely nasty and rude. Didn't help that their Session IPA that they still had sucked.
  7. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Aspirant (277) Nov 6, 2010 Canada (BC)

    1.) I've seen this complaint a couple times. I had both JK beers then went back around the end of the fest and got another taste of the honey beer. I'm confused by this. Maybe it was the other one you were really desiring?

    2.) Yes to this. Pitch dark in there.
  8. -Rick

    -Rick Zealot (519) Dec 22, 2014 Massachusetts

    I attended the day session on Saturday, and thought it was a great show. I bought a VIP pass, and got in the Bokkereyeder line to start the day off. Waited about 10 minutes of so, and thoroughly enjoyed their beers. The Veil line was unreal long, and I had no desire to wait in that line for just a decent IPA. While the rest of the building was waiting for Veil and Tired Hands, I enjoyed no line at Bottle Logic, Abnormal, (M3 was proably the best beer I had all day) VooDoo, Jester King, Kane, and every other sought after brewery. I was able to try the top 12 beers I had on my list, and spent the rest of the time trying whatever looked good at the moment.

    That said, if I had not bought a VIP ticket, I would have been greatly disappointed in this show. The GA glasses were about 1/3 the size as VIP, and like people have stated earlier, Other Half, The Veil, and especially Trillium were super lame for running out so early. Trillium, you guys have a brewery about 1/2 mile away. No excuse to run out of ALL beer in your own back yard. Just pour anything and people would have been happy.
    woodfinish likes this.
  9. JCTetreault

    JCTetreault Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2008 Massachusetts

    Hi guys! To clear things up, almost universally, festival organizers will buy a specific quantity of beer from breweries according to *their* plan/budget/expectations. Brewers decide if they can attend, which beers they can commit to, in the quantity that was 'ordered'. I can certainly appreciate disappointment in missing out on a specific beer/brewery, not too long ago I was standing on the other side of the table!

    ...but when beers run out, please know as a rule, it's not because brewers (or festival organizers) are intentionally shorting the fest-goers!
  10. Auror

    Auror Defender (623) Jan 1, 2010 Massachusetts

    I assume brewers won't let fest organizers just buy any of their beers at any volumes, so the most sought after beers are probably limited by the brewers, right? Thus the complaints in the thread about mediocre session IPAs still pouring while more interesting beers being long gone seem reasonable. Understandably this can make fest goers feel like a bait and switch took place.

    That being said, in the case of Trillium specifically running out of all beers, that definitely seems like a lowball (or low $) plan by fest organizers.
  11. ChrisV784

    ChrisV784 Initiate (0) Jun 1, 2016 Massachusetts

    The guy from Veil said they brought a sixtel of each beer. It really didn't help that the VIP glasses were about 3 times the size of the regular. I'm still pissed about this fest. Towards the end of the Saturday afternoon session, the lines were so long at the breweries that actually had beer left that we took off. Definitely not worth the money. I didn't get to try like the top 3 things I wanted. I won't be going back to this. I mean, these breweries have to know the demand. As least bring some kind of back up plan. Just seemed really poorly planned. I get it that some breweries run out. There's a brew fest that Tree House shows up to in Springfield almost every year and last year, they ran out of beer with like an hour or so left in the fest. To not disappoint people, they started opening cans and pouring out of those. That's how it should be done. I'd rather be recognized for doing that, than be recognized as the brewery that ran out 20 minutes into a 3 hour long fest.
    woodfinish and jlordi12 like this.
  12. JCTetreault

    JCTetreault Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2008 Massachusetts

    While there are some organizers that have minimum quantities, most dictate flat quantities across all or most of the brewers. We really haven't seen a custom order quantity by brewery approach to ordering quantities based. For alot of brewers, it can be a big stretch to send even the minimum quantity of beer (and team members) to these fests due to demand (and workload) back home.

    It's an inherent issue w setting and managing festival buy a ticket, you see a list of breweries/beers, you want to drink all of the beers that you want to drink. Which is totally a fair hope/expectation as an individual. Maybe if they called VIP session 'you'll very likely get to try all of the beers on the list, but don't show up too late' tickets and the general admission 'you get the left over beers so don't get your hopes up' tickets that would help hedge expectations...but it would also put a hurting on sales. hahaha.

    lets say 90% of the focus is on 10% of the available beer...there's just a massive run on them, so they run out first. Even if there was actually enough of the highest demand beer available to send to a fest (they generally are not available)...and if the organizers bought enough of the (not available) highest demand beer, which correlate w/ the most expensive (barrel aged/wild/adjunct/double IPAs/high abv stouts) the ticket prices would then shoot up to be at nosebleed levels (so sales would be commensurately low) or there would need to be a disproportionately low available volume per person AND painfully slow token/ticket system. And the variety would be pretty narrow. that all sounds pretty infeasible to me.

    The VIP early entry vs. general admission ticket pricing is an attempt to achieve best of both worlds...but the individual desire paired with the current construct is a set up for disappointment as expectations about availability just aren't set appropriately.
    debokle, konabrewer, Davl22 and 4 others like this.
  13. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Devotee (470) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts

    What about cracking cans at a loss (see post above) ? I think the goodwill would far outweigh any losses incurred.
  14. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    I get what JC is saying and have heard similar from many other brewers. Going to a beer fest with a list of must-try beers and not expecting that everyone else has the same beers on their list is foolish and a rookie mistake. At the end of the day, it's a 2 oz pour of beer amidst a sea of high quality options. Are you really going to be that guy that complains because someone else got to try the brandy-barrel aged stout and you only got the bourbon-barrel one?

    But, every beer fest I've ever been to has had a few breweries that run out quickly and some that seem to defy the odds and pour for the entire session. For anyone that went to EBF a few years back, you'll recall that Treehouse had the longest line at the fest each session and poured almost till the end of each. Yet, Firestone Walker somehow ran out of shelf beers in the first hour. My sense is that some brewers care more than others about making sure consumers/fest participants are happy, even if that means taking a loss or lowering margins for the day. And some might just be dicks.
    Davl22 and jlordi12 like this.
  15. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (504) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Maybe this will show up on a "Nathan for You" episode. A beer festival is certainly a ripe environment for his shtick. I can almost picture him calmly explaining to a brewery that they can save money by making people watch them drink the beer instead of serving it.
    Auror likes this.
  16. jlordi12

    jlordi12 Devotee (470) Jun 8, 2011 Massachusetts

    This is my point
  17. Foamykeg

    Foamykeg Initiate (54) Jan 24, 2013 Massachusetts

    Thanks JC. I appreciate your view from the other side of the table. For me, I knew going in I had about a 30-45 minute sprint to get what I wanted before things started running out. And I had 98% of what I was after, so was pretty happy about that.

    But seeing some breweries run out before GA even started really got under my skin. Perhaps most of that blame can be put on the organizers for giving VIPs a much larger cup - but that doesn't mean the pouring breweries have to fill it all the way up.....
    #97 Foamykeg, Sep 26, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  18. NewmansOwn

    NewmansOwn Disciple (366) Jun 25, 2016 New York

    I think VIPs should get a larger cup, they paid twice the price. It sounds like the fest organizers just didnt purchase enough beer.
  19. esgilberg

    esgilberg Initiate (15) Sep 1, 2017 Massachusetts

    Other Half did that.
    jlordi12 likes this.
  20. Foamykeg

    Foamykeg Initiate (54) Jan 24, 2013 Massachusetts

    NewmansOwn, yeah, I see your point. At some fests I have been to in the past in other states, the VIPs get a bigger cup, but have an entirely different set of beers to drink - usually super rare, and never released to GAs. They dont get to drink the GA list of beers beforehand.

    Then, once GA starts, the VIPs get in line for the GA stuff with the GAs....but the VIP gets more of a pour because of the bigger cup.
  21. Lamnic

    Lamnic Initiate (197) Mar 1, 2012 Connecticut

    It sounds to me like it's more important than ever to be ahead of the hype when it comes to these types of beer fests. I know sometimes I've been to EBF in the past and regretted needing to try something because I had never had it before and the line ended up being really long.
    Everyone is bringing awesome beer and usually there are incredible beers being poured with zero line (ehem lost abbey).
  22. JCTetreault

    JCTetreault Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2008 Massachusetts

    Some fests will absolutely ask some brewers to bring tons of beer. Some brewers will recommend that they only go if they can bring tons of beer so they don't risk pissing off customers by running out super early. We (trillium) suggested to Sierra Nevada organizers that we should bring something like 18 half barrels for beer camp in Boston a couple years back. That was a TON of beer for us then, but we were so grateful to.have been included, it was the least we could do...but we knew bringing two logs per session would have done more harm than not showing up at all. They said yes. Which isn't the norm...most organizers stick to a flat or minimum volume/brewer. So we were pouring right to the end of all sessions. But we sent zero beer to other beer camp events because we didnt have the beer to do that for every one. So would have been trillium running out super early into the other beer camp fests leading to bad feelings. Never mind an ability to spare the team members! So while some high demand brewers can work with organizers to anticipate and commit to the disproportionate demand and blow it out for a single fest that they show up to, it's just not the rule...brewers cant do it with any kind of real frequency. These are the tip of the icevery as to why you don't see high demand brewers at every festival. Its not brewers or organizers intentionally dangling the promise of a high demand beer and ripping it away when you are so close to actually trying it. I get that it might feel that way, but I promise you it is not.

    As for opening cans or bottles when kegs kick, I can't speak to any specific situation, but maybe they brought cans to share with other brewers or drink themselves ...and decided to pour from cans when the kegs kicked for attendees instead. Whether they were properly sold to the organizer as back ups that would then get refunded if they werent needed, maybe thats what their plan was. But if that was preconceived, then that would kinda be a hey let's do this as a good optics kinda probably wouldn't have noticed if they just tapped a 'backup' keg.
  23. duchessedubourg

    duchessedubourg Aspirant (256) Nov 2, 2007 Vermont

    Raf treated the crowd very well at Ebenezer's this August. 20 bottles available - we bought 19, he threw in the 20th. Hope we didn't spoil him, but he was real chill all weekend there...
  24. Patches826

    Patches826 Meyvn (1,460) Aug 28, 2013 Massachusetts

    This all comes down to piss-poor management. It's kinda sad that despite this event costing more than other similar fests AND only offering two beers per brewer that supplies were running out so early. I mean, to pour a particular beer at only one session and run out 30 minutes in... really? If the organizers were indeed responsible for allocating funds to breweries based on assumed demand they did a terrible job. Most of us don't even work in the industry and we could tell you that Veil and Other Half were gonna be popular, for example.

    Most of the issues simply come down to the VIP system being an ill-conceived cash grab. I'm sure they'd argue it cuts down some of the lines during GA time, but in reality it just leads to beers kicking early and overdrinking. They'd be smart to abandon it next year, but they probably won't as long as nut jobs are willing to pay for it.
    NewmansOwn likes this.
  25. Kraftastic

    Kraftastic Zealot (522) Jan 27, 2009 Massachusetts
    Fest Crew Society

    This is exactly how I feel. The VIP session just sets the fest up to fail. I went to the third session and I felt like everything in the set up was designed to show me, a ga ticket holder, how much better the VIP experience is.

    The cups are a prime example but the best thing I can think of is the line. They pre tagged and scanned our tickets half an hour early and then corralled us in front of the entrance to watch the VIPs drink.

    I was there for the experience and absolutely loved some of the beers, and made it a point to not stand in a line with more than six people. It's just a shame that with so many fests run by people who genuinely care that craft beer culture has shifted here. ( disclaimer I work most of the BA fests as well as Drink Craft Beer)
    Sheppard and NewmansOwn like this.
  26. NewmansOwn

    NewmansOwn Disciple (366) Jun 25, 2016 New York

    I couldnt have said it better myself!
  27. esgilberg

    esgilberg Initiate (15) Sep 1, 2017 Massachusetts

    I have to completely disagree on this point. Letting people in was just the smarter decision logistically. If they let everyone queue up outside and didn't start accepting people until 6:00 on the dot there would be a huge bottleneck.

    I'd hate not getting in right at 6:00 for an event I spent $75 on.
  28. debokle

    debokle Initiate (36) Feb 20, 2017 Vermont

    I think CBC really went to far in creating a VIP experience considering during the previous year the VIP ticket had no substantial improvement over GA. Hopefully next year they can find a better balance or get rid of it altogether. If this means it goes back to tokens thats not an issue either to me. Last year, GA was much more well run and enjoyable. Also the location was better last year. The spread out element of city hall made getting around much easier, limited the hectic element of the lines mixing and you felt less crowded while drinking.

    That being said I think the brewery selection this year was better. Also Frederiksdal was amazing. I'm currently hunting down some bottles of that. Really remarkable stuff, and I'm grateful for Mikeller for sharing that with us since otherwise I never would of tried it.
    woodfinish likes this.
  29. Phineasco

    Phineasco Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2016 Massachusetts

    I got VIP both years, my buddy did GA both years. Last year, we had the same beers. Everybody was pouring all night. This year he got Voodoo black magick and Funky Buddha Last buffalo. Other than that all the sought after stuff was gone.

    Frederkisdal is great stuff. The cheapest bottle (Sur Lie) tastes identicle to Schramm's the Statement. People trade whales for Shcramm's. You can get Frederiksdal at Fort Point Market and CBC Framingham. Bottles are expensive though at 27-50$.
    debokle likes this.
  30. Kraftastic

    Kraftastic Zealot (522) Jan 27, 2009 Massachusetts
    Fest Crew Society

    If you handle the line right, spread out your whales, and distribute the same beer across three sessions you don't have to worry about a bottle neck
  31. sandman3479

    sandman3479 Initiate (0) Dec 8, 2006 Connecticut

    That's actually really good to hear, because as pretty much everyone else in this thread has said, he was the opposite in Boston. Cocky, arrogant, treating many of his fans poorly, and blatantly breaking laws with no regard for the rest of the Fest itself.
    debokle likes this.
  32. esgilberg

    esgilberg Initiate (15) Sep 1, 2017 Massachusetts

    You handle it right be pre-tagging and scanning early entrants. Otherwise there's no way to handle the line correctly. They can only check IDs and scan tickets so quickly.

    I felt for the most part that MY whales were relatively spread out. (Other Half, the Veil, Tired Hands) But to be fair that could be different for others.

    I don't see how distributing the same beer across three sessions solves the problem. I went to the Blue session Saturday night because that's what fit my schedule. I think the large majority of people who attended sessions did so based on their own schedule, not based on the beers available.

    I have many issues with how CBC was run but I don't think this is one of the areas they really messed up on.
  33. Bignastyfrog

    Bignastyfrog Initiate (118) Mar 16, 2013 Connecticut

    Went Saturday night. We loved it. The beer running out was the only downside, and even with that we preferred this to other fests (who have the same issue to a smaller extent).

    It seems the VIP session caused the problems. A number of VIP members were flat drunk less than an hour into GA, and they all talked of repeated sampling of the most sought after beers. I get the VIP incentive and pricing; the gap should be narrowed a bit, however, as it seems huge.
    debokle likes this.
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