Having been to a handful of beer festivals in the past, I thought I knew what Brew Woo would be like. A great selection of beer, no room for navigation and annoyance from a room holding 100 more people than it ever possibly should.
Forgive me. I was mistaken.
While Worcester’s second annual brew festival — presented by KJ Baaron’s — featured a solid lineup of beers, the high point (in my opinion, at least) was the layout of the event, which granted plenty of breathing room despite hundreds of patrons moving through the DCU Center’s convention center.
Not to say that Brew Woo was perfect; while the selection of breweries was more than adequate, some of craft brewing’s recognizable names — both national (Dogfish Head) and local (Gardner Ale House, perhaps) — were absent.
The breweries on hand, however, provided some excellent offerings. Worcester’s own Wormtown Brewery had four excellent beers on hand and Boston’s Backlash Beer Co. offered up a tasty Belgian-style IPA (the Declaration) and a delightful Belgian blond (the Groundswell). Also standing out was Notch Brewing out of Ipswich, which brought along a cask-conditioned version of its always pleasant Session Ale.
Dressed to impress was Westminster’s Wachusett Brewing Company, consuming an entire corner of the convention center with a custom fire truck equipped with taps and nearly a dozen beers on hand.
Food was available in the Bar-BREW-Que corner, offering sandwiches with beer-infused sauces and other delectable food, and bands played throughout the day, but make no mistake; the big draw was an above-average selection of beer — Blue Moon and Shocktop notwithstanding —and a relaxed atmosphere that allowed patrons to wander without fear of reckless elbows and constant bumping.
Who knew drinking beer around good people without feeling like sardines packed into a can would be so enjoyable? It seems the folks at Brew Woo did and it seems a bit obvious now that that’s the way beer festivals should be run.