If 2017 was a banner year for Buffalo craft beer, then 2018 is shaping up to blow it out of the water. The usual suspects return – Farm to Pint Week, Buffalo Brewers Festival and Buffalo Beer Week – but 2018 is bolstered by the return of the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational, which this year moves from Consumer’s Pub at the Park to New York Beer Project, and the debut of the Can-Am Beer Festival, a first-of-its-kind cross-border beer festival that marries the best area breweries with the best Ontario breweries.

After taking a year off, the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational returns in 2018 with a new home at New York Beer Project on Saturday, February 17, 3-7pm GA and 2-7pm for Buffalo Beer League members. The Buffalo Niagara Brewers Invitational brings together leading brewers from around the area and breweries from neighboring cities and states for a celebration of local craft beer brewed in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Not only will you have the chance to sample a number of limited edition and rare beer, you will also have the chance to interact with the brewers themselves.

Only 400 tickets are available for the BNBI and on sale now for $45. Your ticket includes a commemorative glass, a $5 voucher good for any of the beer themed plates from the New York Beer Project menu, and access to 50+ creative craft ales and lagers. The BNBI sold out in 2016, so purchase your tickets here.  Buffalo Beer League members get in an hour earlier for the same price!

The first annual Canadian-American Beer Festival, featuring 20 Ontario-US collaboration brews and 20 WNY-ON collaboration beers, take place April 7, 2018, in Niagara Falls, New York at The Conference and Event Center, 3-7pm GA and 2-7PM for Buffalo Beer League members. The new cross-border beer fest will see owners and representatives from 34 craft breweries from across Southern Ontario and Western New York collaborating on special one-off craft beers, which will be unveiled for the first time at the 2018 festival.

For the Can-Am Fest, Beaus Brewing, Block Three, Brimstone, Cowbell, Flying Monkeys, Grand River, Great Lakes Brewing, Lock Street Brewery, Niagara Brewing Company, Niagara College Teaching Brewery, Niagara Oast-House, Nickel Brook Brewing, Railway City Brewing, Redline Brewhouse, Royal City, Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. and Wellington Brewery comprise the Ontario brewery contingent, while Four Mile Brewing, Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing, 12 Gates, 42 North, Big Ditch, Buffalo Brewing Company, Community Beer Works, Ellicottville Brewing, Flying Bison, Hamburg Brewing Company, New York Beer Project, Resurgence Brewing, Southern Tier, Thin Man, West Shore Brewing Company, Windy Brew and Woodcock Brothers will represent the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Farm to Pint Week, a week-long celebration of the growing farm-to-table, and farm-to-glass, movement in the worlds of both food and drink, returns May 12-20. Brews made by local breweries made from locally grown and produced malts and hops will be showcased all week, starting with the Farm to Pint Expo at Pizza Plant on May 12. From there, the Full Circle Fest at 42N takes place on May 19th and the annual F2P tap event follows at Hamburg on May 20th. Throughout the week, multiple F2P tap events around the region will also take place. Buffalo Beer League members should expect special offerings during F2P at some participating breweries.  Visit https://buffalobeerleague.com/events/f2p-week for more information.

The 5th Annual Buffalo Brewers Festival will make its return to Canalside on Saturday, June 23 (3-7pm GA, 2-7pm for Buffalo Beer League members). This year, the summer festival will feature 100% local WNY breweries with all of the brewers and owners presenting exciting brews made special for this event. If you want to meet the local brewers, this is the event for you! In addition, locally sourced food, local chefs & food trucks will also be a big part of the 2018 festival. Stick around for the brewer’s after party featuring live music and local draft pours. For more information, visit www.buffalobrewersfestival.com.

The ninth annual Buffalo Beer Week, a 10-day celebration of everything the Buffalo-Niagara craft beer scene has to offer, returns from September 14-22. The 2018 lineup will feature dozens of events, from the official Buffalo Beer Week Opening Gala put on by the Buffalo Niagara Brewers Association (with special pricing for Buffalo Beer League members) on First Friday (Sept 14), to tastings at your local pub, to ticketed special-events and nearly everything in between, all culminating with the Ballpark Brewbash at Coca-Cola Field on September 22nd. The beer-centric week promotes Buffalo’s growing craft beer culture throughout Erie and Niagara counties, which attracts beer tourism, fosters knowledge of regional brewing heritage and serves as a showcase for Buffalo’s breweries, restaurants and pubs. Look for more information at www.buffalobeerweek.com.

Stay tuned to www.buffaloniagarabrewersassociation.com for further details on these events as well as to get all of the latest information on the Buffalo craft beer scene.

Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at buffalobeerleague@aol.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.