The 4th Annual Orange County Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival – Nobody Bounces Back Like a Dranking Fool!

Posted: September 11, 2013 in Beer, Events, Food, Food Truck, Music, Orange County, Ska
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Those who live in Southern California, or those who have visited in the past few weeks, have definitely felt the effects of the heat wave. If many people complain about the heat, then why do they continue to remain outdoors? Perhaps the thrill of the exposure to nature’s gift motivates people to step outside. Perhaps other things may motivate people to get out there and do things despite the risk of burning. Perhaps people simply want to go to do something awesome that only takes place outside, such as drink lots of beer with lots of other people. Sure one may receive a similar enjoyment by visiting a local bar, but why play it safe? Welcome to the 21st century – shed away that safety blanket, and get out there and explore the world. You may discover something so amazing that you will want to come back for more, such as the Orange County Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival.

Orange County’s biggest craft beer festival returned for its fourth year running this past Saturday at the 4th Annual Orange County Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival. Taking place at sunny Oak Canyon Park out in the hills of Silverado and Irvine, this lush park away from civilization marks a great getaway from the cluster of the city, especially since cell phone signals do not normally reach out here. Trumping last year’s festival in geographical size and content, this massive beer festival puts all others to shame by including a whopping 70+ breweries in attendance from all over the world, doubling its area from last year, and adding more food, games, exhibits, vendors, and live entertainment, including Reel Big Fish! Benefiting the Local 3631 Firefighters Union, general admission started at 1pm and included ten beer pours, while Early admission started at 12pm and included 15 beer pours. All beers stopped pouring at 4pm, but trust me – they allocated more than enough beer per person, since many of the breweries brought strong or filling brews, resulting in majority of attendees leaving the fest at the end of the day with extra beer pours remaining.

As mentioned above, the festival has grown to cover the entire park this year, as opposed to the front section reserved for campers. This expansion allowed for breweries to spread out among the new area, allowed more vendors to set up, and provided more space for the fest organizers to strategically place “hot spots” such as water stations, games, and the mobile music stage. This extra space also allowed the LAFD Fire Hogs to set up their motorcycles for display.

Dozens of breweries set up booths throughout the front area, creating a perimeter of booths serving beer, and creating “islands” of breweries around trees in the center.

With a pond in the middle of the park, the festival set up booths like a doughnut shape. The side closer to the dirt field housed many local breweries from Orange County and San Diego County, plus our good friends from Bad Pickle Tees.

As previously mentioned, attendees could entertain themselves with various games around the fest, such as bean bag toss, and glorified Jenga.

On the back field, attendees would find most of the food available in the fest. Food trucks on hand included Garlicscapes, Viking Truck, Devilicious, Tropical Shave Ice, and Dos Chinos. Other food options available included HopScotch Tavern, Slide Bar, Brewcakes, Slater’s 50/50, Haven Collective, and more.

As a beer fest supporting firefighters, we all love when they show off their personality. Did you know that some firefighters love to play the bagpipes?

During the festival, world class beer experts gave seminars regarding various subjects, mainly pertaining to the food & beverage industry. Where most of the speakers spoke about beer subjects, Stone Brewing‘s Greg Koch spoke about health & nutrition, a subject that caught a lot of attention from the audience. He also proudly displayed a Reel Big Fish guitar available as a raffle, and demonstrated his musical skills on it before the band could enter the stage and guide him along the song.

Speaking of Reel Big Fish, who would expect them to play at a local beer fest like this? Well, when you consider that they come from Huntington Beach, they play a song called Beer, and they have arrived at Orange County’s biggest beer fest, it only makes sense to invite them over. It also makes sense that they would start with Beer before moving on to the rest of their songs. They loosely followed their set list, adding and moves some songs here and there; for example, they played Trendy right after Beer. Random audience members love to interrupt the band between songs for some reason – one guy managed to get the entire band to sign what appeared as his jock strap in between songs, one member at a time. At other times, random people would bring beer to the band just to see them play drunk. As a smaller stage than usual, this did not leave much room for a pit – a small skanking pit formed on the stage left side, but only contained four people at most, myself included. They ended up playing a few songs as an encore, despite having gone past 4pm, meaning anyone present at the stage could not receive anymore beers. However, to attend a Reel Big Fish show easily made up for the sacrifice of a few beers.

At this rate of expansion, I foresee a 5th Annual Orange County Brew Ha Ha as so large that any normal person cannot possibly complete a circuit in given time. If this case arises, they must consider running two sessions, just like how Stone Brewing does for their anniversary. If they cannot run two sessions on the same day, then they can add another beer fest of the same magnitude. Luckily, they already have – the 2nd Annual Orange County Brew Ho Ho will return to its same location at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim on Saturday, December 7th. Tickets have not gone on sale yet, but will cost $45 for general admission. No other beer fest in Orange County can compete on the same level as the Brew Ha Ha – see why for yourself at their December beer fest, or hang on tight until next year!

You can see me on the stairs at stage right!

I must thank the organizers Cameron and Tiffany Collins for allowing me the opportunity to attend such a grand event. I would also like to thank The Ace Agency for the great marketing for this event. I definitely want to thank Beer Punks for their connections to such wonderful people. And finally, I want to thank my lovely friend who joined me on this fabulous summer day full of friends, beer, food, music, and fun!

  1. […] the creators of OC Brew Ha Ha comes the OC Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival! Join me this Saturday for an afternoon of UNLIMITED […]

  2. […] all goes down at Lakeview Park in Silverado. Those who have attended last year’s OC Brew Ha Ha will know how to get there. Take the same road as you would towards Oak Canyon Park, and once you […]

  3. […] speakers, games, and more, which includes live music. Recall that Reel Big Fish performed at last year’s Brew Ha Ha, and expect the Brew Ha Ha crew to step up their game for this year. Who will perform? To stay […]

  4. […] the creators of OC Brew Ha Ha comes the OC Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival! Join me this Saturday for an afternoon of UNLIMITED […]

  5. […] the creators of OC Brew Ha Ha comes the OC Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival! Head to Anaheim this Saturday for an afternoon of […]

  6. […] the creators of OC Brew Ha Ha comes the OC Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival! Head to Anaheim this Saturday for an afternoon of […]

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