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September 22, 2009

NY Craft Beer Week 2009: The Aftermath

NY Craft Beer Week '09 was both the best and worst thing ever. It was the best because hundreds of places around the city were chock full of good beer, some of which being rare, high caliber stuff. On the other hand, I gained at least 5lbs, got next to no sleep and entirely lost the ability to concentrate at work. In addition to that, even though I went to as many bars and events as I could, I didn't feel like I could fully take advantage of the $35 beer passport.

Pictured above are just a small fraction of the firkins at Rattle'n'Hum, which this week solidified itself as THE premiere beer destination in NYC. Their cask ales throughout the week were unmatched. Coupled with visits from anywhere between one and three brewers every night of the week, not even the wonderful Blind Tiger could hold up to RNH's beer geekness.

But that brings me to my gripe about the Passport. You pay $35 for a booklet of information about events and discounts at bars across the city. Sounds good on the surface, but the passports were printed in July. Not one bar that I visited had all 3 beers advertised as the discounted beers in the booklet. I understand the difficulty of planning this out, but there needs to be a better system. In 2008, Craft Beer Week sold tickets to beer crawls of individual neighborhoods. And while somewhat limiting, this worked for me in that it forced me to check out new bars that I wouldn't ordinarily visit. At the same time, there were WAY more bars involved this year, so I don't see an obvious solution.

So in conclusion, NY Craft Beer Week was a great week celebrating good beer in the best city in the world. BUT, its far from perfection. I'm sure as they continue it, it will improve exponentially. I have faith.

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