Let me set the scene – come Saturday, Buffalo will be awash in big hats, fast horses, mint juleps, margaritas, tequila shots and craft beer, because the drinking stars have aligned and Derby Day, the day the Kentucky Derby, the fastest two minutes in sports, is annually run, and Cinco de Mayo, a celebration of all things Mexican food and drink, fall on the same day this year, May 5.

Actually, Cinco de Mayo is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza, but I digress.

It’s no small secret that Buffalo is a drinking town. While mint juleps and margaritas will be aplenty this weekend in the Queen City, it should come as no shock that there will be plenty of great craft beer available around town to help celebrate, so I thought it in everyone’s best interest if I compiled all of those beers, including some of our local favorites to help celebrate the occasion, into one place for quick and easy reference. Some beers are new, just for this weekend, and some are tried and true classics for Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo.

Amidst all your drinking, don’t forget about the Kentucky Derby itself though, because, you know, it’s only two minutes and it’s pretty damn exciting.

This is already a great list and it’s not even mentioning new beers released in honor of Star Wars Day on May the 4th, a nice little collection that includes Chew-Bock-A, a 17.5% Eisbock from 12 Gates and the first release in Brickyard Brewing’s Exit 25A series, a rotating series of hoppy session IPAs, a 5% IPA with a blend of Galaxy, Mosaic and Summit hops.

  • Flying Bison Brewing Barrel Aged Spot Coffee Stout: Their spot Coffee Stout that was aged for nearly a year in freshly-emptied whiskey barrels.
  • Thin Man Brewery Cinco de Cryo: A double dry-hopped New England Double IPA brewed with Citra, Mosaic Cryo and Galaxy hops.
  • Pressure Drop Brewing / West Shore Brewing Sketchy IPA & Hella Sketchy DIPA: Sketchy (6%) is brewed with Centennial, Mosaic and Simcoe hops for crisp notes of fruity and dank. Hella Sketchy (8.5%) features Centennial, Simcoe Oil and Mosaic hops, and was dry hopped with Simcoe during active fermentation and Mosaic after. Sketchy will be available at both locations, while Hella Sketchy will be on tap at West Shore this weekend (and Pressure Drop soon after).
  • New York Beer Project Kentucky Rye Imperial Stout & Mexican Lager: The perfect combination of beer for this day – a never-before-tasted pilot batch of Mexican Lager for Cinco de Mayo, and an Imperial Stout aged in Kentucky Rye Whiskey barrelsfor Derby Day.

If you need us come Saturday, chances are we will be imbibing on some of the latest and freshest batch of 42 North’s LuchaBrew Mexican Lager, so there’s yet another beer to consider enjoying this weekend. So, did May 5 just officially become our favorite day of the year?

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.