2012 Flour City Brewer’s Fest

What: 2012 Flour City Brewers Fest – Beer Festival & Tasting Event

When: September, 21, 2012 6-9pm (VIP ticket holders enjoy early admission at 5pm)

Where: Frontier Field, 1 Morrie Silver Way, Rochester, NY, 14608 (map)

Buy Tickets at: http://fcbrewfest.com/tickets.php

A long-standing part of the Rochester, NY beer community, Rohrbach Brewing Company has been hosting the annual Flour City Brewers Fest since 1995. I spoke with brewery owner, John Urlaub, about the growth of the festival and in the local craft beer community. With more than 20 years in business, Rohrbach Brewing is an O.G.* in the Rochester beer scene. “The craft beer community has exploded in Rochester,” said Urlaub, “we’ve seen more growth in the past 2 years, than we did in the 18 years before that… The local community here really embraces and supports craft beer, and they love to talk about it!  It’s really cool.”

The first brewers fest was held at Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua, NY and hosted only a dozen or so breweries.  Since then, the festivities have been moved to Frontier Field in downtown Rochester, and the list of participating breweries has more than tripled in size. Urlaub adds, “Today, people are coming to the Brewers Fest hoping to find their new favorite… Back then, we were just trying to get people to try a flavorful beer!”

This years brewers fest will feature deeper tents than in past years to ensure everybody has a great time — rain or shine (Looking at the 10 day forecast, there’s a 30% chance you’ll appreciate that!), and the band will be moved down to the field to create a more intimate atmosphere. Participating breweries include:

  • Rohrbach Brewing Co
  • Woodchuck Hard Cider
  • Ithaca Beer Company
  • Long Trail Brewing Co.
  • Anchor Steam
  • Victory Brewing Co.
  • Pyramid Breweries
  • Great Lakes Brewing Co.
  • Widmer Brothers
  • Kona Brewing Co.
  • Redhook Brewing
  • Custom Brewcrafters
  • McKenzies Hard Cider
  • Three Heads Brewing
  • Spaten
  • G. C. Starkey Beer Company
  • Blue Point Brewing Co.
  • Brewery Ommegang
  • Brooklyn Brewery
  • ROC Brewing Co.
  • Stella Artois
  • Leffe
  • Hoegaarden
  • Naked Dove
  • Rogers Beer
  • Magic Hat
  • Weihenstephan
  • Southern Tier Brewing Co.
  • Ellicottville Brewing Co.
  • Genesse Brewery
  • Dundee Brewing Co.
  • Unibrou
  • Southampton Publick House
  • Goose Island

Proceeds from the Brewers Fest will benefit Holiday Outreach, a local not-for-profit organization that works to assist less fortunate families during the holiday season and throughout the year.  Why Holiday Outreach?  John says he wanted to keep the focus on the local community.  Over the years, events like the Flour City Brewers Fest, along with other fund raising efforts, have helped raise nearly $150,000 for the small, grassroots organization run entirely by volunteers.  Such significant fund raising efforts have allowed Holiday Outreach to help many families in need from the city of Rochester, as well as other parts of Western New York.

So what’s next? When I asked John what we could expect from Rohrbach’s in the future, he told me that they’re working on new packaging to make their beer more available to consumers.  For years, the only way to enjoy Rohrbach’s tasty line-up of craft brews has been to find it on draft or grab a growler to-go… Soon, you’ll be able to find Rohrbach beer in 22oz. bottles and eventually in ultra-convenient 6-packs.  They’ll be a welcome sight at summer barbecues to come!

Getting In

Tickets to the 2012 Flour City Brewers Fest are $40 at the gate ($35 advance) or $10 for designated drivers and non-beer samplers. Parking will be available for $5 (cash only!) in the adjacent Kodak lot (map).  Street parking is FREE where available but be sure to check for NO PARKING/NO STANDING signs. (A note about drinking responsibly: Overnight parking is allowed in the Kodak lot as well as in the State Street Garage in High Falls. There will be taxi service available and the Rochester Plaza hotel will run a shuttle bus to and from the event. Contact the Rochester Plaza for details.)

A limited number of VIP tickets are also available for $75 (purchase online at: http://fcbrewfest.com/tickets.php).  VIP ticket holders can look forward to a number of benefits including:

  • Early admission — Gain access to the field at 5pm (an hour before general admission)
  • FREE parking in the Frontier Field and nearby Kodak Lots
  • Access to the covered VIP area (opens at 6PM) where you can mix & mingle with friends
  • Catered food from 6 – 8pm in the VIP Area
  • Samples of exclusive beers not available to anyone else at Brew Fest!

What to Try

One of the best things about going to beer festivals is trying new beers.  Remember that booming Rochester craft beer scene?  Well you’ll get to experience it first hand at Flour City Brewers Fest.  Along with Rohrbach’s lineup of locally brewed beer, make sure you stop by and sample offerings from the other Rochester craft breweries in attendance. Custom Brewcrafters, ROC Brewing Co, Three Heads Brewing, Naked Dove, and Rogers Beer are all local favorites.  And don’t forget your Grandpa’s beer of choice: Genny Cream Ale! Genesee Brewery has been brewing beer in Rochester since 1878, and is one of the largest and oldest continually operating breweries in the United States. Today, they employ more than 500 employees here in Rochester. And here’s a fun fact… for those of you that remember Genny as the beer you had to drink warm behind the tool shed because you stole it from your dad’s stash in the garage, Genesee Cream Ale actually won the GOLD medal at the World Beer Cup in both 2002 and 2004 for best American Lager/Ale or Cream Ale. So if it’s been a while since you’ve had a taste of this American classic, take this opportunity to sample it side by side with some of your other craft favorites.  You might find that’s not quite the beer you remember it to be!

In between beer tastings, be sure to stop by the Rochester A-List and Rochester Young Professionals tent in the outfield to try a Rohrbachs Vanilla Porter Cupcake created by Dollop, Rochester’s premier gourmet cupcakery and winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.  While you’re there you can also register for your chance to win some great beer related prizes!

One that I’m looking forward to trying… Brooklyn Brewery will be there with their Brewmaster’s Reserve “Fiat Lux” (“Let There Be Light”), a Belgian witbier inspired ale with lime peel & coriander. Check out this video by Transient Pictures for a more detailed look at what goes into this seasonal release, draft only brew. Cheers!