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Ballpark Brewfest

When you hear the name Syracuse Chiefs, you think of baseball and beer is not the highlight of your visit. However, the Ballpark Brewfest features local brewers and distributors for this event. Last year, the Brewfest had over 1,500 patrons all on the concourse. This year’s goal is 2,000 guests to attend on Saturday, September 23rd from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.

The Ballpark Brewfest features local brewers and distributors. It will be held Saturday, September 23rd from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at NBT Stadium.

Jason Smorol, the General Manager of the NBT Stadium and the Chiefs realized that this event has potential to be a spectacular event. “This will be our third year,” says Jason, “and this year we will be using the whole field. Last year was a lot of fun on the concourse, but we missed out on the beautiful weather.” So this year, Jason decided to move much of the festivities outside. “We’re expanding in many ways. The last two events, we catered all the food, but this year we’re inviting food trucks in to add diversity. We hope to expand a little more each year.”

“We try to do something new each year. This year we going to try either a corn hole or a can jam. We’re also going to put a T near 2nd base and let folks try to hit the ball out of the park.” Another new feature will be the set up –New York State beers and ciders will be on the 1st base side of the field, and world beers will be on the 3rd base side. As we were speaking, a dozen other ideas came to Jason and he said, “See, there’s always something we can do to make it different and better. We hope to make the event grow in popularity and diversity each year.” In the future, one thing that may be added is live music. This year, the music will be provided by DJ Double Play. The interactive video board will add a new dimension to the program.

What makes this event so different is the ability to speak with brew masters face to face and one on one. Some of the local brewers featured will be Fred Mack, Tim Butler and Pete Kirkgasser from Middle Ages brewery, Empire Brewery and Eastwood brewery. These local masters not only have excellent beer, but they willingly share their knowledge to others interested in brewing their own beer.

“Each year we feature new products such as rare items where there is only one keg available” said Jason. “We will have at least 60-70 varieties of beer and hard cider.” The brewers there also will bring new blends for their customers to try, most of whom are beer aficionados and connoisseurs.

Local masters not only have excellent beer, but they willingly share their knowledge to others interested in brewing their own beer.

There are also lots of safety features built into the stadium. It is completely handicapped accessible. Another perk to have the brewfest here is the parking. Parking is plentiful and FREE! And while they’ve never had a problem with security, each server is trained to identify individuals who may become intoxicated. Just to make sure no one drinks and drives, your designated driver can attend the fest free of charge. They will be issued a special bracelet to identify them, and if caught drinking alcohol, they will be removed immediately. “Most people are here just to sample the variety of flavors and blends or new features in beer and cider. We’ve never had a problem with anyone getting out of hand,” said Jason. Also, the event is only open to folks 21 years of age and over, and each person must present ID before entering the stadium.

Jason stated that “it’s the sponsors that make this possible. We have great brewers, but we also have great sponsors.” Some of the sponsors include CSEA, Blue Rock Energy, World of Beer, Rocky’s Cigars, 95X, Syracuse Newtimes and our own Table Hopping Magazine. These businesses recognize the opportunity to have more than just baseball available at the NBT Stadium.

“Of course you can buy your ticket here at the stadium or online at www.ballparkbrewfestcny.com, but there are other places to buy tickets too” advises Jason. Where can you get them? You can buy advance sale tickets for $40 at Nichols Supermarket, Rocky’s Cigar and World of Beer in the mall. “We’re having an event at World of Beer about a week prior to promote the brewfest.” Jason said there will be raffles, tickets and lots of other fun stuff at the promotional event too. Day of event tickets are $50.00. But don’t wait, make plans now to enjoy an afternoon of excellent food and drinks.

The best place to be on September 23rd is the Ballpark Brewfest 2017!  You can have a world class experience right in our own back yard!

Janet LaFrance
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