After a two year hiatus I attended Wrocław’s annual festival of good beer that took place for the 5th year in a row this past weekend. Due to the ever growing popularity of the festival, and growing popularity of smaller brews in general, this year the festival had moved from its original location near a castle to a more accessible space near Wrocław’s football stadium.
As expected there was no shortage of beers to choose from. There was also no shortage of people to get through to actually taste the beer of your liking. Beer lines at times exceeded a 25 minute wait, and I think we can all agree that beer should be a little more accessible than that. The wait time I write about was reported to me by several coworkers who attended the festival during the first two days Friday and Saturday. Ania and I stopped by on its third and last day Sunday, and the story here was much different. Lines were short, the crowd was much smaller, and the brews I wanted to taste were all out of beer on tap.
Same went for the actual festival collectors glass that was supposedly readily available, but in reality sold out quickly by Saturday afternoon. No worries though, I managed to pick up after all, a Yellow Snow Ale glass caught my attention mostly because of the name of course, but partly because I recognized it as an Oregon Ale I once had somewhere in the States. From then on I tasted all my beers in style.
I’m not even upset that some brews ran all out of their own beer. I think it’s a sign that the show is getting more and more popular and I doubt this will happen again next year. I wouldn’t be surprised if some beer producers still had a bad taste in their mouth from last year when rain had soaked the premises so much the festival was dubbed a “Mud Festival” instead. This must also be part of the decision to move the venue. And while sporadic rain didn’t do much to deter beer connoisseurs this past weekend, somehow the atmosphere of the event has totally gone away.
The castle and its grounds gave the show a picnicy feeling. Almost made it look like a family event, one where daddy gets hammered on beer of course. But it felt fun. Felt different. Now it’s just feels big and somehow artificial. There was still a big play area for kids so the family theme was there, but the aura and mood of the festival, to me at least, is no longer there. Now it’s just a place where you can drink many different types of beer, something that can also be done in several good pubs in the city.