Southern California has no shortage of festivals featuring adult beverages. Almost every week of the year, a festival occurs that features either craft beer, wine, or cocktails/spirits. When adults think festivals that include alcohol, they immediately think about drinks that will get them instantly drunk. The quality of beverages has changed over time to focus more on the taste and character of the drinks rather than the alcoholic content of the drink, and more and more festivals have started to focus on these beverages that highlight flavor rather than alcohol content. For example, Session Fest focuses on beers under 6%. However, beer falls under the category of drinks that can go higher in ABV. For adult beverages with a lower traditional ABV, we turn to ciders. Ciders do not get much exposure since they have the stereotype of having lower ABV, and thus only get small exposure at festivals. Times have changed, and the world now sees not only stronger ciders, but cider festivals, such as the Hard Core Cider Tour.
This past Saturday, the Hard Core Cider Tour landed in Los Angeles County to deliver dozens of ciders to our thirsty lips. Taking place at beautiful Brookside Park in Pasadena near the Rose Bowl, this festival featured over 20 different cideries serving up a multitude of ciders for attendees to sip on. The general admission of $45 allowed attendees to sip on as much cider as they would like for the duration of the festival. Upon entering the festival, attendees received a lanyard with a stamp card with numbers representing each cidery, and each vendor should have stamped the number representing them when attendees arrived for a drink. However, many vendors allowed attendees to keep returning for more cider pours, or never stamped the cards. The website originally stated that attendees could receive only one drink from each vendor; however, they stated that only to follow ABC protocol. In reality, attendees kept going back over and over to the booths for more cider. Perhaps this statement may have turned off many potential attendees, as they felt that $45 for one cider per vendor cost too much. Knowing that attendees could basically drink as much as they could handle, the price could justify itself.
The rectangular area of this festival provided more than enough space for the attendees to roam around. The cideries lined up the long ends of the space, the food trucks took up the north side, and the music stage took up the south side. The center of the space allowed for field games, such as beanbag toss, Connect Four, and Jenga. The space did not allow for much shade, and the trees did not shade the area until halfway through the festival, so attendees that did not retreat to the booths would get sunburned fast.
Despite a somewhat low turnout, all of the attendees had a great time at this festival. Even after sipping on all the ciders, no one ended up truly drunk. Half of the ciders present had an ABV above 6%, just like that of many standard craft beers. Regardless, this did not put anyone over the edge, so everyone enjoyed the festival and left with a positive experience that would likely bring them back next time.
Interested in attending a cider festival? While their website may say that attendees only get a limited amount of cider samples, attendees will likely get as many pours as they desire. Like the Hard Core Cider Tour on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for future updates about upcoming cider events.