I spent the majority of the last weekend down at the Duke Energy Convention Center for both nights of the fifth annual Cincinnati Winter Beer Fest and the first 5B: Believers in Better Beer, Bites, and Blogging Conference, which I hope will become an annual event. In addition to great presentations and conversations, the 5B offered cheap admission to both nights of the Beer Fest. I will write more about the conference in future posts, but for now I will keep my focus on the Beer Fest itself.

A couple of things I saw that need immediate attention are the overall lack of organization to the entire event, and the extreme crowds that were present on Saturday night. Fortunately there were so few people in attendance on Friday night, that I was able to sample nearly everything that I wanted in just one night. Top beers for me included the Tazza Mia Espresso IPA from Rock Bottom Cincinnati, as well as the X-Hop IPA from Fat Head’s and D.O.R.I.S. the Destroyer Double Imperial Stout from Hoppin’ Frog. It was also nice to have some special release beers from local breweries Rivertown, Listermann, and the soon to open Blank Slate. I also have come to the conclusion that I do not care for cask conditioned IPA’s.

Packed House For Beer Fest

On the organizational front, it all starts with the terrible website that is in place for the event. Not only is it flash based, but navigating the site to find information is nearly impossible. No where is it mentioned if food would be served inside. A map of the festival was promised on one page but was never posted, or if it was I could never find it. Once inside the event center, there were signs directing people where to go based on their ticket type, but I was given the wrong type of wristband on the first  night and completely missed the connoisseur session that I had paid extra for. I had assumed that it would be inside the main festival floor, but when I finally tracked down a map I could not find the connoisseur section listed. Turns out it was on a separate floor away from the rest of the festival.

Obviously I will likely still attend an event like this in the future, but it doesn’t hurt to hope for some improvements that are much needed. And if a stricter limit isn’t placed on the number of tickets sold for each night, I would definitely opt to skip the Saturday night session. It was much too crowded and every single booth had at least a ten minute wait for a beer. Plus a number of breweries ran out of beer before closing, some even packing up their booth and heading home early. I joined them and was back home by 10pm on Saturday night after having tasted less than ten beers on the main festival floor.

Cincy Beerfest Cake

2 Responses to “Cincinnati Winter Beer Fest”
  1. Andi @udandi says:

    I agree with your observations and hope they are collecting the feedback on the blogs, Yelp reviews and their own Facebook page on how to improve.

    I went to the first two when they were held in Kentucky and it was such a fun time with some food included (crazy, I know).

    Sorry we didn’t meet at 5B, maybe next time!

    • edpaffjr says:

      I hope there is a next time. I really enjoyed 5B and look forward to attending it (or something similar) again in the future.

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m reading your blog now and finding great stuff!

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