By Clay Keel
On August 8, 2018, for the first time in the history of Buffalo Beer Week, over 20 Western New York brewers came together to brew a beer for Buffalo. The brew is a juicy IPA born from the collective minds of Buffalo brewers called “Class Is In Session.” As I am writing this, the beer is fermenting so I can only hypothesize as to what it will taste like, but I do know what it represents. This beer represents collaboration, comradery, and above all community.
That simple word, community, is a complicated thing. There are at least two definitions per Webster’s Dictionary. The first, “a group of people living in close proximity with common interests,” describes most cities in our country. Buffalo, however, represents one of the few places where community matches the second definition: “a group of people with shared interest, history, beliefs and common goals.” Our sense of community is developed by long winters and hardened by challenging times. This amazing, unique sense of community transfers to the Western New York brewers.
Few cities have the sense of cooperation between breweries like Buffalo. The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association and a large community of talented homebrewers laid the foundation for a tremendous brewing community. Now, any brewery that opens in Western New York will find a welcomed reception from existing industry members. We meet monthly to share lessons, ideas, techniques, and a few beers. If this unique cooperation can maintain, Buffalo has a bright future as an even bigger craft beer destination.
The first beer week collaboration beer, Class is in Session IPA, exemplifies the amazing cooperation between Buffalo breweries. Just about every Western New York Brewer contributed Pale malt, Galaxy hops, or some other ingredient to the finished product. The brewery community came together to work toward a shared goal of a successful beer week and successful Buffalo beer scene. Through strong cooperation, Buffalo beer will only continue to grow and become a destination for beer lovers nationwide. So grab yourself a Class is in Session and enjoy a true Buffalo community beer.