We did it – we made it to Columbus!
Like I had mentioned the last couple posts, BeerFest was previously played in a fairly small house on Hazelwood Ave, right across the street from Le Moyne College. When we moved across town to Columbus Ave, we moved into a behemoth of a house. We now had a 12-bedroom, 4-bathroom (not an actual frat) “frat house” with a completely open attic area that was capable of holding north of 200 people (and countless times did).
Naturally, when you’re given a bigger party area, you HAVE to fill it… right??
So away we went, recruiting teams to join in on BeerFest. We doubled from 8 to 16 in the first two years, so doubling again seemed like it’d be tough… but we could do it.
We ended up with 31 total teams, which at the time was one team short of what we wanted, but we made it work. We decided one team would get a 1st round bye, but that it shouldn’t go to the top seeded team and rather give it to a team at random (a TON of people were convinced we’d claim we were the top seed and give it to ourselves but we were – at the end of the day – true men of honor). The first round bye went to a new team, team Poland – lead by @BuiltForbesTough (who FUN FACT went on to be the first to LIVE sing the national anthem at BeerFest in 2017, which we can talk about next Thursday) – and people could NOT believe I gave it to someone new to BeerFest… But that’s what happens when you pick at random, you run that risk. Gambling is a dangerous game fellas!!
Now, I don’t know where to start with the changes from 2010 to 2011, so I’m going to attack it wildly…
The attic of Columbus was tailor made (more like Taylor made… am I right*?) for this event. We built four smaller tables for quarters, so more games could all go at once, we made another pong table (this one said “BeerFest”) so that more pong games could be going on at once and we built a stage where Daas Boot would go down at the front of the attic, with a pulley system setup so that we could hang our new trophy – a Golden Keg called “Lourde Taylor’s Cup” – among many, MANY other unnecessary things we built for just that one day**.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Kegs back in these days were hilarious… We had been making so much money at house parties charging $5/head, that returning the kegs ended up being a chore for the ONLY $30 deposit. We often had multiple kegs lying around, and that’s partly the reason we ended up making one into a trophy – there was an abundance of them, they were a burden, and we bought golden spray paint and thought it’d be hilarious to make this thing like the Stanley Cup. We were right and 8 years later, I regret nothing)
One of the sweetest things I remember was the night before BeerFest, looking over the attic from the stage, seeing the attic empty, with four 4-foot-by-3-foot quarters tables, with one pitcher & two teacups on each, the Golden Keg hanging with a spotlight hitting it and an American flag in the rafters… This was the first time I saw the attic like this. Ready for a party but I wasn’t sure what it would end up being. It was the calm before the storm, and this was a storm that ended up coming to Syracuse every year thereafter*** until 2017.
The odd thing was, I actually had worries that night that people wouldn’t show up… The thought of people having to take a taxi (Uber didn’t exist then) across town to come to this party was a little unsettling… Would people actually commit to that? A BANANAS thought in hindsight, given that I already had bought 12 kegs that were sitting in the basement! I mean, if I was nervous people wouldn’t show, the $800 I spent on those would have been tough to swallow!
Another wrinkle from BeerFest III was that because more teams joined, there had to be many, many more games created. For example, the first year, with just 8 teams, we only needed four types of games. The eight teams played Anchorman, the winning four played Flip Cup, the winning two played Beer Pong and the winner of that went to Daas Boot (at least as far as the winner’s bracket went). But NOW with 32 teams, we needed more games – more rounds. We added Turbo Quarters and Civil War as winner’s bracket games (we figured the winner’s bracket games needed to be simple enough games everyone plays), and we added Random Relay and 40 Hands into the Loser’s bracket (because we’re sick in the head)… But all these games and the double elimination factor made the brackets complicated as shit.
I remember the night before, one of the guys in the house created an Excel sheet that probably could have worked to organize it all… But I wasn’t confident in it enough to let anything but my brain handle this. The entire day, I had the winner’s bracket on a chalk board in the front of the attic and the loser’s bracket on a chalk board in the back of the attic. After every game, I’d run and update accordingly… Meanwhile I was on a team and making sure all four tables had teams playing on them to keep the day going as fast as possible. Logistically getting 128 players where they needed to be over the course of 8 hours seems impossible, but damnit, I made it work!
2011 also was the first year (somehow) that Team USA joined BeerFest. It was my brother and a couple guys who we had lifeguarded with and had heard about BeerFest (I talked about it a lot) and wanted to relive their college days. They came in jorts and American flag button downs, and if I’m being honest (and totally not biased based on the fact that I love this crew) stole the fucking show. Team USA has been a cornerstone to the event ever since.
BeerFest 3 also marked the first BeerFest that I had a dog. He was a bluetick coonhound named Bocephus and he was an absolute
asshole beast. And he howled… A LOT. Our neighbors actually complained that day, not because the party was out of control or loud, they complained that if I didn’t shut the dog up, they’d call the cops. Steps were taken in future years to make sure he was quiet (like send him anywhere else in the world) but that year, hand up, I had ZERO plan in place to handle our wild frat hound.
Me personally, this was the first and only year that my team, Team Germany, was WHOLE. The first year, we were missing Woods (a degenerate alcoholic but also our best quarters player) and the second year, I was missing (from my hand injury discussed yesterday). But 2011 was different, we added Thewski and we were very, VERY legit. We got Germany hockey jerseys and trained for Daas Boot like we knew that was our destiny… Fuck the five rounds before it – train for the championship round!! If we were meeting Team Turkey in the boot again, we weren’t losing.
Again, here we are at the actual day of, and I don’t have a great memory of it… I believe Ketch couldn’t be there that year, so I gave the opening speech, and standing on that stage, overlooking the 150 people in that attic, I was like, “Oh shiiiiiit… This is for REAL.” As far as the games, I can’t lie, I don’t remember them too well. I know our team made it to 40 Hands and finished the 40 faster than whoever we were playing – but because our fastest chugger spit up/threw up a little bit – I disqualified my own team and ended our day. Noble as shit of me… I know. Credit to me.
But the main event, Daas Boot, came down to Ireland, a team of rugby seniors, and Turkey… again, the same old basketball guys. I can’t even recall the race, all I know is Turkey won. Again. Three straight years. Despite making the road to the title longer and changing up their competition, they just kept winning.
That was the last year we saw that Turkey team. They came back in 2017 as the Byzantine Empire, but it wasn’t the same core guys. The original guys were legends and in three years, only lost one single game of Flip Cup and one single game of Beer Pong.
Three years of complete dominance. We were all #WITNESS to Team Turkey.
After BeerFest that year, a new tradition was made… Hitting the bars afterward.
Staying alive through 8 hours of drinking is insane. Adding a trip to drink 3 pint glasses full of red bull vodkas (as nightcaps) was a WHOLE other level of nuts.
But making this trip to me was actually really cool, I got to see some people who left BeerFest around 4pm (after their teams got eliminated), took naps and then went out. OR, I got to see the true savages who stayed alive all day (somehow) and hadn’t stopped drinking. I even got to see those unlucky few who didn’t go to BeerFest (**COUGH COUGH ** LOSERS), who I was then able to tell the story of the epic day to… All while rocking sweatpants and a Germany hockey jersey mind you.
The event wasn’t over 3 hours and I was already campaigning to make 2012 the biggest and best yet.
364 days til next years BeerFest!!
Our third BeerFest was in the books. We made it bigger. We made it better. It was a ball we couldn’t stop rolling, nor did I want to stop rolling it!
After this one, I was pretty confident in what I had done. I was telling EVERYONE who would listen about this event we made. Shit, I even remember telling my dad about having 32 teams (aka 128 players) plus the people coming to watch… And his main concern was, “Please tell me you have a fire escape in that attic.”
Tomorrow, we got BeerFest IV, the introduction of technology, the baseball guys joining the tournament and the further tipping up of this great annual event.
** = One thing we had plans to build was a pulley system that would swing out of the windows, then a crank would be set in the attic so we could crank kegs up the side of the house into the attic – as walking kegs up 3 flights SUUUUUUUCKED. This project never got completed, despite us having bought the crank and the pulley equipment. In hindsight, this may be one of very few “ideas for BeerFest” I never made come true. But holy shit what a gamechanger that would’ve been.
*** = Well, almost. 2016 we took off, but we’ll get there next Wednesday.