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Canalside beer festival to highlight local brewers, farmers

Francesca Bond

For many, Canalside and beer go together like chicken wings and blue cheese.

The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association is holding its fifth annual Buffalo Brewers Festival Saturday at Canalside. The event is meant to highlight the importance of supporting area breweries and farmers and will feature exclusively local beer and food vendors.

This is the only event of its kind in Western New York because it’s a local festival for local brewers, local attendees, a lot of the brews are made with local ingredients,” said Tim Herzog, the president of Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association and the owner of Flying Bison Brewery. “So this is about Buffalo, for Buffalo, with Buffalo.”

Jeff Ware, the owner of Resurgence Brewing and chair of the event, left Buffalo for a time but came back and started Resurgence, inspired by the growth and passion of the community.

“From the farmers who produce the grains and hops to the brewers themselves, the work that’s being done by the folks expanding the local beer community needs to be celebrated,” Ware said. “And that’s what this festival is, a celebration of our local beer scene.”

Last year’s festival was held at the Outer Harbor but due to obstacles like construction on the Skyway and its distance to public transit, orgnaizers decided Canalside was a better fit.

The festival is partnering with the ride-hailing company Lyft to encourage visitors to enjoy the event responsibly. Partners are also urging the use of public transporation for those who plan on drinking.

But it’s not all about drinking—there is also an educational element to the event. Beer enthusiasts can learn about sustainability efforts and local hops and malt farmers at a farm-to-pint table, which has beers brewed using locally grown ingredients.

Habitat Buffalo, the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, is another partner of the event. Stephanie Lawson, Habitat Buffalo’s spokeswoman, said they have had a partnership with the Brewers Association that started with a year-long campaign called “The House That Beer Built.”

Tickets can be purchased at the association's website, at the door, or at area Consumers Beverages locations.