Sörfesztivál Budapest, Hungary 2015





The unforecasted rain finally started to wain, and we decided to head over to the Sörfesztivál. Sun quickly replaced the rain and the temperature and humidity boiled. We arrived at the entrance of the festival just a few hours after opening on the first day to see a line of employees in booths. The first one seemed busy, so I proceeded to the second one. She informed me that only the guy in the first booth could help. This seemed odd as about 5 other employees in identical booths just stared off into space. After a moment it was our turn to pay for entrance (3,000 HUF) and receive card to load money onto to pay for beer inside the festival. The employee seemed confused and very awkward and wasn't able to answer any of my questions with any certainty related to the festival, like if we could return the glasses for the money back we paid for them, and if unused money on the card was refundable.



After entering the festival we were able to see a unique and impressive statue. Smaller booths were in this area featuring drinks like craft beer and cider. Walking up and to the left would lead to the main festival area with a large stage for music, food and all the macro lager you could ever desire. After a quick look around I headed to a booth which had RothBeer which was high on my list of targets. The man working the booth was very friendly and knowledgable about all the wares at the booth. As I went to pay I realized that, since the entrance to the festival was paid for by money loaded onto the card which pays for beer (as well as the beer glass deposit) that I would need to go load more money on for the beer. While I understand the reason for using the cards, they proved to be a hassle over the course of the festival, partially because booths selling beer couldn't tell how much money was left.



We took our beers and found some shade. It was still fairly empty inside and it looked like the area could hold quite the crowd. After a bit we walked around some more and to see what exactly the booths had to purvay. During my stroll I finished my beer and decided the Hopfanatic booth would be a logical next step. Unfortunately the two people working the booth knew almost nothing about beer let alone what they were selling. I'm not sure if companies had any control over who works their booth, but I would expect someone selling a beer brand called Hopfanatic to as least know the beer styles of the available drafts.





The day moved forward as I drank and observed. Eventually two younger fellow American tourists sat across from us at a picnic table. It was fun to be able to share some tales of travel and adventure. During the course of our conversation I learned that the cost of entrance included a free beer. I was pretty miffed as they were supposed to give us a token of some sort for the beer which we never received or were even told about. Later upon further inquiry at a booth I learned it wasn't for a beer of my choosing and just a glass of some pale lager I wouldn't have even wanted, but I still would have liked to have been told.



Overall the Sörfesztivál was very disorganized and poorly run. While I had an okay time, everything from entering, to getting beer and using the bathroom was a hassle (what is up with places that expect you to pay money to use a port a potty?). I was able to have the remaining money on the card returned at the end as well as having the deposit for the glasses refunded. There were some good beers to try at reasonable prices, at the RothBeer both most beers were 990 HUF (just over €3) for 40cl or 600 HUF for 20cl, but the festival was definitely not geared toward craft beer. Unfortunately I was just a week late for attending the Főzdefeszt, another beer festival which looked like a great time. If I find myself back in Budapest during the Sörfesztivál I won't be returning.



 




















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About Colin Smith

Hi, I'm Colin, I love a good hoppy IPA, but I can find immense enjoyment in a solid session beer, imperial stout, quadrupel or a nostalgic beer from my past.

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