14 Highlights from the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational (In Beer Form)

To put it plainly – there was a lot of great beer at the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational this past weekend, which moved to New York Beer Project for the first time this year. Looking back at the event, we’re over the moon that we decided to keep a list of our favorites, because otherwise, who knows. And thank goodness for Untappd.

From New England IPA’s to barrel aged sours, a 17% Eisbock and even a cask beer, the Brewers Invitational really did offer something for everyone. Great atmosphere, great turnout, great people – it was so much fun to be able to catch up with all of our beer friends under one roof. We also had the chance to meet Patrick from One-Eyed Cat Brewing and sample some of his beers, which was a highlight of the event, as was getting to enjoy the last bottle of 12 Gates Brewing/Woodcock Brothers Brewing seXPAnther Black NEIPA. So there’s that.

Hopefully you were able to spend your Saturday afternoon in Lockport surrounded by hundreds of fellow minded beer drinkers at the Brewers Invitational, but if you didn’t, shame on you, but there’s always next year. As for the beer, here are some of the best we had.

12 Gates Brewing DDH West Coast IPA on Cask with Amarillo and Citra: This one makes the list partially because it was the only cask beer available, but more so because it was so juicy and so bright.

12 Gates Brewing My Aching Bock: Not only was this treat the first true Eisbock we’ve ever had from an American brewer, it also clocked in at 17%. Yes, you read that right. It was a velvety smooth sipper for sure.

42 North Brewing Barrel Aged Ben Nevis Scotch Ale: This one was a little bit smoky and a little bit oaky. The booze shone through too, which made this barrel aged beer stand out.

42 North Brewing Rambler Barrel Aged Brett Saison: Loads of delicious funk in a glass and just the latest memorable release from 42 Below Barrel Room. We had this one first with an unsullied palette, and we’re glad we did.

Big Ditch Brewing Citraburner: Citraburner was the best IPA was drank at the Brewers Invitational. Hands down. It featured bright citrus and ripe melon – just wonderful all around.

Big Ditch Brewing Innovation Series: Dave’s New England-Style IPA: As evidenced by their Lock IPA series, Big Ditch knows their way around hazy IPA’s. This entry into the Innovation Series was good – a hint of melon with a nice soft finish.

New York Beer Project Funky Zombie #4: This is the Zombie Saison aged on 168 pounds of apricots. It was a bit pissy (think wet hay) with a touch of barnyard funk.

New York Beer Project Zombie Saison: Just the right amount of funk and just the right amount of tart. Not a palette wrecker by any means.

Pearl Street Brewery Grapefruit Sabre’s Edge Double IPA: So fresh and so juicy. This was a wonderful beer to drink last because it left us with a smile on our face. We hope they make more of this.

Pressure Drop Brewing Panic Attacks: Enjoyed this one side by side with its sister beer Night Terrors. Pine and citrus highlighted this beer and the clean, crisp finish was a nice change of pace from the haze.

Stillhouse Brewery Fat Porter: Speaking of change of pace, this porter was the utter definition of that. The rich chocolate melded well with the sugary sweetness of the honey. Can’t wait for more from these guys.

Southern Tier Brewing Brett Barrel Aged Cherry Gose: This was one of, if not the, best beer I personally drank at the event. It was so well balanced – mouth-puckering with just the right amount of tart fruit. Sadly, I did not grab a second pour of this, although I really wish that I had.

Thin Man Brewery Night Terrors New England IPA: Enjoyed this one side by side with its sister beer Panic Attacks. Juicy tropical fruit was the name of the game here.

West Shore Brewing Green Flyer New England IPA: While we’re fond of their Historical Rail Pale Ale, Green Flyer might just be the best beer West Shore has ever brewed – big tropical hops with a smooth and soft finish. We went back and seconds, and thirds.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com. 

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