Barrier Brewing Company Gets Really-Real at Get Real

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Despite an acute case of cloggis nostrilitis hellbent on the obstruction of its host’s aroma-holes, Super Neat persevered hardcore against the sniffles-inducing parasite and attended the first of four Get Real Belgian Festival NY general admission sessions (two seshies on both Friday, 7/8 and Saturday, 7/9), multi-samplin’ over 100 Belgian and Belgian-inspired brews, including the debut of Barrier Brewing Company Vermillion Saison Rouge.

Sort of.

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Though Vermillion Saison Rouge, a musky-funked “saison red” with notes of caramel and tart cherries, and Barrier Brewing Company’s other five festival pours (Barrier Belgian1, Cycle Saison, Belgian Dubbel Down, Mare Undarum Belgian IPA, Spelunker) descended from Get Real’s central draft station for attendees, most other advertised beers did not. During the three-hour afternoon session, issues with installation and pouring temperatures pestered the Get Real Committee and its volunteer staff, and only a limited tap selection, as well as surrounding brewery (e.g., Goose Island and Sixpoint Craft Ales) and homebrewer (most favoritest: Keith Koval – Le Saison Petit) tables, were available to ticket holders.

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Fortunately, technical problems lessened as time progressed (see: draft flowage increased), and Super Neat was able to snag Brewery Ommegang Gnomegang, the Cooperstown, New York-based, Belgian-style brewery’s collaboration with Brasserie D’Achouffe, and Saison Dupont before departure.

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There was also an overdose on waffles.

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The Get Real Committee issued the following statement on the festival’s malfunctions:

A MESSAGE FROM THE GET REAL COMMITTEE ABOUT FRIDAY’S 3-6PM SESSION OF THE BELGIAN FESTIVAL:

Dear Attendees,

We would like to take a moment to thank you for attending this past weekend’s Belgian Beer Festival and to explain some of the circumstances behind what took place on Friday afternoon at the 3-6pm session. While we have communicated with many of you already, both personally and electronically, we felt it was important to put out a broader apology. It personally pains us as a committee to know that the first session of our festival did not meet your or our high expectations. The Saturday sessions were a blast and we only wish you could have had the same experience.

As a committee, we at Get Real hold ourselves to uneblievably high standards with the goal of providing the best attendee-experience possible. Unfortunately, due to a set of circumstances, some of which were beyond our control, we utterly fell short in terms of providing the user experience we are known to deliver, especially to the Friday 3-6pm attendees. The main issue we experienced was that the Company we had contracted to build out the central bar did not live up to its promises of having it ready on Friday morning and only realized on Friday that they were missing several vital components of the bar. Of course, we take full responsibility for not being on top of the contractor every step of the way and for relying on their false promises. To make matters worse, the largest shipment of beer that was supposed to arrive early Friday morning only made it to the venue at 2:30pm. So, the combination of the bar not being ready on time and the late arrival of beer led to a situation where, for at least the first 2 to 2.5 hours, the main central bar was not functioning as it should. Some beers were pouring, but they were foamy and not temperature-controlled. We understand this is unacceptable for the centerpiece of a beer festival. Despite the mishaps, it was amazing to see how so many of you tried to make the best of a bad situation. You tried all the homebrews, you checked out a couple of seminars downstairs, you found the best beers around the periphery that were pouring from breweries like Goose Island and Brooklyn Brewery and beer bars like BXL Cafe,you enjoyed some of the live music and tried some of the delicious food from Petite Abeille, Eddie Oysters, Roni-Sue Chocolates, MOHO Cocoa and Rattle N Hum.

Believe us, every minute that went by without a fully-functional main bar deeply pained all of us on the committee. Thankfully, by around 5:30pm, the bar was finally working as it should — though that doesn’t mean the beers were properly pouring yet, as it would take another hour or so for the CO2 to circulate and for the beers to cool down to the right temperature. This would even continue to affect the 7-11pm session, though by 8:30pm or so, most of the beers were pouring well, with just a few still pouring foamy. By the Saturday sessions, we had the bar running smoothly and for the most part, the two Saturday sessions were a major success and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves (again, we understand that the food ran low during the last hour of every session).

We have learned a HUGE lesson in all of this and we will not let you down again!

We also understand that some of you had expected more food options at the festival, especially in light of the huge number of participating restaurants at the festival back in March. Please know that this festival was primarily a “beer festival” which also featured some Belgian-style foods, whereas the March festival was in fact a “beer and food festival.” We realize now we didn’t get that messaging out appropriately, and for that we apologize. We are also aware that the food did not last the full 3 hours and we take the blame for not letting the restaurants know exactly how much supply would be required to make sure every attendee got their fill. The short repsonse is that — rest assured — there will be an overabundance of amazing food at our NY Craft Beer Week festival in September — the All-American Beer & Food Festival.

In our continuing efforts to put on the best festivals possible, we welcome any additional feedback and comments. Please contact Patrick Donagher at patrick@nullgetrealny.com

Apologetically yours,

The Get Real Committee

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