For the first time in two years, an army of New York State breweries, including dozens who call the friendly confines of Western New York home, will descend upon Buffalo’s waterfront on September 25 as the New York State Craft Brewers Festival at Buffalo makes its much anticipated return to Canalside.

Yes, beer tasting is back on the water.

The New York State Craft Brewers Festival, presented in tandem by the Western New York Brewers Guild and the New York State Brewers Association, is the only local festival hosted by the brewers, giving attendees the opportunity to meet the people creating the beer. Food trucks and artisan vendors will be on hand, live music will be provided by Gravy, a Farm-to-Pint tent will showcase local farmers, hop producers and maltsters and, this year, there will be a Buffalo brewing history component, which will dive into the rich past of Buffalo’s bountiful (pre-prohibition) brewing industry.

“This festival highlights breweries from every region of the state, with an emphasis on Buffalo, and it’s one of the only festivals of its kind that features all-NYS breweries,” Paul Leone, executive director of the New York State Brewers Association, said. “We’re all about beer festivals being more experiential, and more than just drinking. We make sure the brewers are there or brewery representatives or the owners, so there is just as much conversation going on as there is drinking, because people get to talk to the people who make the beer. We want to foster conversations about beer.”

Among the local breweries taking part are 12 Gates Brewing, 1927 Brew House, 42 North Brewing, Big Ditch Brewing, Big Inlet Brewing, Brickyard Brewing, Britesmith Brewing, Buffalo Brewpub, Community Beer Works, Eli Fish Brewing, Five & 20 Brewing, Flying Bison Brewing, Lilly Belle Meads, New York Beer Project, Pressure Drop, Resurgence Brewing, Rusty Nickel Brewing, Sato Brewpub, Southern Tier Brewing, Thin Man, TiL Brewing, Wandering Gypsy Brewing, West Shore Brewing and Windy Brew.

“As a newly formed organization, ‘for brewers, by brewers’, the WNY Brewers Guild is elated to bring this marquis beer event back to WNY and the city of Buffalo,” Jason Havens, president of the Western New York Brewers Guild, added. “We believe our partnership with the NYSBA is vital to the success and prosperity of the WNY brewing industry. The WNY Brewers Guild is honored to collaborate with the NYSBA on this truly unique event. Local breweries have positively impacted our entire region in many ways and we are excited to show off WNY’s incredible beer scene at this festival. We look forward to hosting this event for years to come and we encourage WNY community members to support the event and their craft breweries by attending!”

Other New York breweries set to appear include Artisanal Brew Works, Big aLICe Brewing, Bound By Fate Brewing, Brown”s Brewing, Dublin Corners Farm Brewery, Endless Life Brewing, Frequentem Brewing, KCBC, Lake Placid Brewing/ Big Slide Brewing, Local 315 Brewing, Mill House Brewing, OBS Ciderworks, Rare Form Brewing, Reinvention Brewing, Roc Brewing Company, Rohrbach Brewery, Strong Rope Brewery, Swift Water Brewing, Valcour Brewing, War Horse Brewing, WeBe Brewing, Wild East Brewing, Willow Rock Brewing and Young Lion Brewing.

“Western New York has become such an important part of the entire New York State craft beer scene,” Leone added. “We are so excited to be working with the Western New York Brewers Guild to showcase the incredible beer being produced from every region in the state at our first craft brewers festival in 2 years.”

Tickets for the New York State Craft Brewers Festival at Buffalo are on sale now. Pre-sale tickets are $55 and include admission to the event, a 7 oz. commemorative tasting glass, unlimited 3 oz. beer samples, opportunities to meet the brewers. There is only one session for the festival.

“New York State is number two in the country in terms of total number of breweries and some of the best beer in the country is coming out of this state right now,” Leone said. “I wouldn’t have said that five years ago, but you look at what’s happening in Buffalo and Western New York, New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley, Rochester and the Finger Lakes, our brewers are getting better and better every year at their craft. And what that does is, it naturally drives all of the other brewers to up their game as well. So, what you’re seeing is better beer every year in New York State.”

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Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the 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, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).