Behind the Green Door: A Retrospective of My Time at Community Beer Works’ Lafayette Home

As 80’s hair metal merchants Cinderella famously sang, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone, and while what we had was six wonderfully long years with Community Beer Works’ quaint, understated home at 15 Lafayette Avenue, it still doesn’t seem like enough. I’m as excited as the next guy, actually I’m probably more excited than most, for what lies ahead as CBW moves into their spacious new digs at 520 7th Street on a full time basis, I won’t soon forget all of the memories and all of the friends I’ve made after walking through that green door.

It has been fun while it has lasted, and, as they say, nothing lasts forever and nothing gold can stay. So as CBW moves forward, I wanted to look back at some of my favorite memories from all of my time spent at 15 Lafayette Ave. And just as important as the memories are the people who helped create them, past and present employees of CBW, some of who have become very close friends of mine.

The beer is a big part, obviously, as CBW are responsible for two of my all-time favorite Buffalo beers – Mr. Superfantastisch Berliner Weisse and Rutherford Brett Haze. Frank, Whale, Heatrays, the Singularity IPA series, and De Maas – if I were to sit here and list out every memorable beer I’ve ever had at CBW, I’d get carpal tunnel. Seriously, there are a lot.

Onto the memories. Oh man, the memories. I almost feel bad, because I don’t exactly remember them all, and I feel terrible leaving some out. The Friends of Frank fundraisers were always awe-inspiring; watching CBW raise thousands of dollars for local causes with just one beer is truly something to behold. The Raid on Black Rock with Resurgence Brewing, Heatrays verticals, Snow verticals, singing 80’s power ballads with Justin at the Power Ballad DIPA release, jamming to Gravy at The Stouting, drinking through the draft board with our friends from Henderson Brewing in Toronto, the third and fourth anniversary parties at the brewery, the That IPA can release, lunch beers on the weekends, CBW Book Club (seriously, can we bring this back?), game nights (still undefeated at Connect Four), Snow Day 2015 (pretty sure I still have a bottle of Snow 2012), and so many more that it’s literally hurting my brain right now straining to think of them all.

In addition to being a rad space with killer beer, CBW has also meant a lot to me professionally. They were one of the first breweries to support the Buffalo Beer League years ago and have been big supporters ever since. It’s hard to imagine where the BBL would be if not for them. Ethan [Cox] and Chris [Smith] and the rest of the team have been so good to me both personally and professionally that it’s really hard to put into exact words. Now if you’ll excuse me, I seem to have something in my eye.

I know it’s not goodbye forever, it’s goodbye for now, or as CBW puts it – embeer you later, but this is still a bitter pill for me. I’ve made so many memories at 15 Lafayette, but now it’s time to head a few miles up the road and start making some new ones at 520 7th Street.

My only regret is that we never got Joe Biden in town to claim his free drink…

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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