Moeder Lambic. Ezra Johnson-Greenough, the founder and an ecumenical drinker, has increased cider's participation in the fest. Everything about the tasting side of the fest is great.
The location, however, is perhaps the worst in the city. I traipsed down on Friday, the first day after a cold snap when the temps toppped out at about 75. Nevertheless, the sun had baked the surfaces of the locale--concrete all, including pavement and surrounding walls--turning it into an oven. Light knifed off the hard surfaces and created a blinding glare. Even with the sun getting ever lower in the sky, there were precious few patches of shade to be found.
The fest floor--a pen, really, fenced in with chain-link--is so small that the long lines running off the pouring stations blended into the crowd, making it a chore to even know where to stand. (Creating, perversely, open jockey boxes that people at the rear of the line didn't realize were free.) Oh and: there was no place to stand. You sort of do a slow waltz with the crowd as the fluid dynamics of people standing in line or trying to get to a line sent us on a perpetual move, a half-step at a time.
I know Ezra and the organizers are aware of this, and I understand there are challenges to hosting fests. Nevertheless, as a fest-goer, these are not my concerns. My concern is spending a pleasant few hours enjoying excellent beer in the company of friends. The excellent beer is at the Fruit Beer Fest, but not the pleasant few hours. A victim of its own popularity, the fest must grow or lose cranky old men like me. (And before you say it: there weren't nearly enough of us to fix the problem with our absence.)