Adventures in Brooklyn: The BK Waterfront Beerfest

I’m thankful that, for all of the overcast, rainy, and muggy days we’ve had of late, most of our weekends have been pretty beautiful in New York City. If the weather insists on being persnickety, I’d rather get a glimpse of the sun when I’m not confined to my office. Especially when I have exciting plans like going to the Brooklyn Waterfront Beer Festival, which was this past Saturday in Williamsburg.

One ticket bought admission into a legitimate beer paradise. And compared to the long lines of Googa Mooga, the short lines and cheerful volunteers were heavenly. Almost ninety breweries, with each one bringing 1-4 beers. The theme was “Summer Beers”, and while there were mainly light summery beverages, there were enough porters and heavy hitters to go around as well.

Handy dandy tasting glass.

We got there around 12:30, which was the slated time for those that spent extra on VIP tickets. Did we have VIP tickets? Well, no, but we wanted to be near the front of the general admission line when the “doors” opened for us commonfolk at 1:30PM. Great idea. We were in and through about 12 pours in 20 minutes. With 12 pours between 2 and 3 oz of completely different kinds of beers, it was at that point we realized we should probably get some food in our bellies before we pursued our challenge of “as many tastes as possible” any further.

Another great idea. I waited in line less than fives minutes for my delicious vegetable curry pie from Sheep Station. Not even an exaggeration there, friends. And after we refueled, it was back into the tents. Have I mentioned before that I burn really easily? If not, there, I said it. I’m half Italian (Southern Italian, no less), but my skin is 100% Irish. So the abundance of tents where beer was being poured was most helpful.


Towards the end of our session, the beau and I counted on our fingers and toes and realized we hadn’t tried nearly enough breweries. So in a moment of desperation genius, we started alternating pours and sipping half of each glass. It worked. When all was said and done, we’d had about 50 different beers, and counting the 15 or so that we skipped since we’ve had them before, we made a big dent. I feel confident in saying “Mission Accomplished” without having to send troops back into the festival for five more hours.

I already mentioned how pleasant the lines were, but I really want to mention again how smoothly the entire event went (from a participant standpoint, anyway). The ticket takers were efficient, checking IDs and putting on bracelets in that hour we were waiting. We got in there at nearly 1:30PM on the dot. The volunteers pouring beer were amazingly friendly, considering that they weren’t even looking for tips. It could be because I have an angelic face that couldn’t help but melt their cold hearts, but I doubt it. Finally, with a second session coming in after ours, the entire staff did a great job of pushing us out without making us feel like we were being pushed out. I mean, they told us they were “tapped out”, which was a lie (unless everyone brought exactly enough beer to tap out at 4PM on the dot), but they were friendly about doing so. It was really a wonderful experience.

I’ve got a few more pictures below. The same people run other beer festivals during the year: if you can, go to one. For $45 bucks we had a full 2.5 hours of beer (short lines!), great food at good prices (short lines!), live music and an overall knee-slappin’ good time.

Do it.

Being on the water was a definite plus.

Beer, obviously. Most were out of taps, a few were in chilled bottles.

The insides of my pie, before it went into my belly.

Manageable, nowhere-near-unruly crowds.


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