One of the new craft gatherings around is the 'One More Beer Festival' which had its inaugural event the past weekend in Kraków, Poland, September 1st-2nd.
Local micro brewery Pracownia Piwa and distributor (and soon to be Mikkeller Warzaw manager) Grzegorz Korcz hosted the two-day, three-session setup with a selection of national up-and-comers pouring their funkiest and finest alongside internationals like Crooked Stave, Omnipollo, Oud Beersel and yours truly.
In total 31 breweries, all with six beers each, made for a high quality wheel of fortune including spiced, bretty, barrel-aged and otherwise altered versions of known brews and loads of new stuff to boot.
Friday was in session from 4-8:30pm and with a bottle shop in one end of the arena the initial blow from the first wave of geeks was softened somewhat. Grzegorz Korcz had chosen to add the bottle element to the taster-event; both to carry home and to enjoy right then and there. That was a first, for me at least, since taster-size festivals like this one usually only serve just that. Now the game was changed and included freshly canned IPAs from both Europe and the US, renowned impy stouts and a sour lineup that was very well curated, too.
The vibe was very, VERY relaxed brewers and guests alike throughout the whole festival and the volunteers were so on top of their game that there was ample time to take in the atmosphere, get acquainted with new brewers and say hi to a few old friends.
The bottle area was especially ideal during the break between sessions on Saturday, where the hub of volunteers were milling around changing kegs and signs and you needed something to quench your thirst after the classic, simple and very delicious heering sandwich (baguette, lettuce, bell pepper and a whole heering. bon appetite!) s/o to the three food trucks in the parking lot.
Friday and Saturday both ended at Taphouse in downtown Kraków where Pracownia Piwa recides and hosted afterparties. Again the vibe was chill and high fives and laughter filled the cozy taproom.
The two sessions saturday 10am-2:30pm and 4-8:30pm were somewhat heavier than Friday both in attendance and strength of beers poured with geeks from both near and far chatting, ticking and having a good time (at least), and since most of the volunteers, it seemed, were home brewers, beer tenders or otherwise geek-inclined, there was a very pleasant and well-established family feeling to the whole thing.
It's kinda hard to put a finger on anything that didn't work at One More Beer Festival. We're sure it'll return, and also quite sure that it'll have to move to a larger venue, since the Polish craft scene is growing exponentially these years.
Pracownia Piwa and Grzegorz Korcz are the spark plugs here, and there's an undergrowth that'll be vying for the Polish and international geek soon enough!
Thank you all Kraków and One More Beer Festival for a great time!