In my mind, the flood of August events is a result of the fact that brewers and promoters want to get this stuff out of the way before Labor Day. Moods tend to change once school starts and we enter the fall sports season. Plus, August weather is usually excellent. You get the picture, eh?
|Beer was pouring smoothly at all stations|
Now, full disclosure. I traveled up there on Saturday afternoon strictly to observe and take photos. I spent about 20 minutes walking around Esther Short Park taking in the layout and watching the crowd. I consumed no beer...though there was plenty of good beer to be had. I just didn't have time to get partake. Next year will be different!
|Tap layout in the tents helped serving efficiency|
I have to say the transformation of Esther Short Park and downtown Vancouver over the last 10-15 years is amazing. When I arrived here in 1989, most of downtown was a disaster. The park was inhabited primarily by transients and drug dealers. The area had a dreary, bombed out look. A massive revitalization project brought upscale residences and businesses to what was once a lost city. The Brewfest most certainly could not have happened if not for the revitalization of downtown. Kudos to the folks who made that happen!
|Plenty of shade and sun made for comfortable mingling|
They did something very smart with the serving tents...and it was probably a necessity due to the size of the Brewfest area. Instead of serving from just one side, they served beer from several sides of most tents. This was an ingenious idea. The park was mildly busy, and I saw only a few very short lines going in different directions. Very efficient.
|The brewing demo is a festival standard|
As my friend Angelo Brewpublic was always quick to remind me when he was pouring beer at By the Bottle, there are a number of Washington beers that don't make it across the Columbia River. Beers from Heathen Brewing, Loowit Brewing and West Highland Brewing (all of Vancouver) are unknown to me and would have been interesting to try. Next time.
|A fine time was had by all...|
One thing I will quibble with is the cost of admission. There were some pre-event deals out there that saved you a few bucks, but a standard package was $21. That got you a mug (really a cup) and eight tickets. Additional tickets were $1 each. So you were essentially paying $13 for a plastic cup on the way in. That seems excessive. I understand the event benefits several charities...and they'll all do just fine if a lower entry fee encourages more people to attend. I hope organizers will rethink this for next year.
In the end, I suspect the future of this event is bright. It was a success in its first year and word will spread. They might even wind up with a space problem if the event gets huge. This isn't Waterfront Park and it won't hold OBF-like numbers. That won't be a problem in the short run, but you never know what might happen in time.