Archive for April, 2016

More often than not, a beer festival starts out fun, but ends up turning into a drunk fest. Some beer festivals only care about filling people up with beer, while the better festivals deliver the quality beer from local microbreweries. Regardless of the size, the latter easily applies to Eagle Rock Brewery, a well-known microbrewery in the greater Los Angeles area. Eagle Rock Brewery’s take on approachable beers full of flavor makes them great for both casual beer drinkers and craft beer enthusiasts. One could find both of these types of people at Eagle Rock Brewery’s 6th Annual Session Fest this past Sunday, a beer tasting event dedicated to session beers. For those unfamiliar, session beers carry lots of flavor while keeping alcohol content low. This allows drinkers to enjoy more beers in a given time frame without overloading on alcohol or killing the palate with strong or hoppy beers. This year, Eagle Rock Brewery once again invited other local breweries to bring their session beers in to sample to guests. Doing this shows that not only Eagle Rock does session beers – other breweries churn out session beers too.

Keeping with tradition of Session Fest, all of the staff at Eagle Rock Brewery contributed towards the beer selection at Session Fest. Every staff member brewed their own session beer for the fest, based on their personal taste preference. The other breweries served their session beers from the tasting room, while all the Eagle Rock Brewery beers poured from the brewhouse. Anticipating a greater turnout this year, their brewhouse received a reshuffle to allow more guests to hang out inside. In addition, they finally have air circulating in the brewhouse, eliminating the heat issue that occurred last year. Guests paid $18 at the counter to receive three 8oz pours of any session beer of their choice, plus the glass to take home. If guests wanted more than three beers, they could purchase more tasters at cost.

With a greater selection of beers this time around, some guests would have a hard time deciding which beers to taste. Keeping in mind that guest breweries brought beers that they normally serve, I opted to seek out the Eagle Rock Brewery beers, as nobody can try any of these beers anywhere else but during Session Fest. As expected, these beers contained just as much flavor as the same category of beer, but with lower alcohol content.

Microbreweries like Eagle Rock Brewery prove that craft beer represents more than just higher alcohol beer. Microbreweries place an emphasis on flavor and ingredients, not alcohol percentage. It just so happens that more alcohol may result from certain ingredients added into the brewing process. In a culture where people look at absolute percentages to rate beers, we often overlook that some of the most popular local beers have relatively low alcohol content. Session beers allow us to appreciate the ingredients that go into our drinks without the worry of getting drunk too quickly. Cheers to Eagle Rock Brewery for raising awareness of beers for their flavor rather than strength. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for future happenings from Eagle Rock.

Southern California has such a diverse culture that appreciates many different things. Nowhere else does this diversity appear more in than within the cuisine here. Southern California houses so many different types of food that keeping track of them all turns into a job rather than a chore. Luckily, Southern California has food events, such as Artisanal LA, that allow visitors to experience what Southern California has to offer to your curious tastebuds. Artisanal LA returned for its semiannual show this past weekend to The Reef in Downtown Los Angeles, bringing along with it a slew of local designer goods for our eyes and mouths. At Artisanal LA, this two-day all-ages event allows visitors to stroll through the numerous aisles filled with local artisanal vendors, where visitors can sample products, purchase products, or receive information about services for future business. At select times during the weekend, seminars would take place, where visitors can sit down to listen and watch demos or learn about things. Although this past weekend’s event did not carry as many vendors as the last Artisanal LA, just as many visitors showed up, making for a greater customer to vendor ratio. Around every corner, most products sold consisted of snacks, especially jerky, or dessert, such as cookies, cupcakes, candy, and more. I would anticipate that anyone arriving without a sweet tooth may feel left out of the many vendors present. Regardless, Artisanal LA did a great job of stocking a diverse lineup of vendors.

This weekend, I sampled and bought a handful of goodies from vendors such as:

What other ways exist to sample some of the great products that Southern California has to offer other than at Artisanal LA? Remember that Artisanal LA takes place twice a year, so keep an eye out for news of the Fall event that should occur in October. Keep up with Artisanal LA by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter for more information about their upcoming events as they release it.

In the pursuit of hoppiness, countless people across the world continue to crave craft beer. The demand for craft beer grows so much that corporations actively try to shut them down. In order to keep the craft beer industry strong, entrepreneurs need to continually grow their brewery or company. But how does one find trained professionals to handle the work? Pretty much every brewery would only hire individuals with prior experience in the industry, not even giving the chance to hire fresh people to give them experience. So how does one get experience if a brewery will not give experience? In a world where experience matters the most over education, certifications, and proficiency, sometimes it helps to go back to the basics, and the basics start in the classroom. To learn more about the craft beer industry, we look to the institutions that provide training and education to willing individuals, and for that, we turn to Innovation Brew Works.

Located within the Innovation Village Research Park at Cal Poly Pomona, Innovation Brew Works represents the campus building that not only serves pizza and beer to the public, but functions as a full-size brewery where students can learn hands-on about the brewing process as part of the curriculum. While certainly not the first institution to offer a curriculum to major in brewing, Cal Poly Pomona represents one of the few to do so. As an added bonus, the beers produced here do not go to waste. Thanks to the setup of the brewery, a head brewer makes the main batches in the primary equipment to serve in the café, while students utilize small batch pilot systems to test their brews. If a student produces something worthy, they may feature it as a special cask in the café. Otherwise, nothing goes to waste, and the public can walk in to Innovation Brew Works and enjoy a cold one or two.

This past Saturday, Innovation Brew Works celebrated their one-year anniversary, although since they opened in fall 2016, this marked their 1.5-year anniversary. They kept the prices down, ranging from $10 to $30 depending on how much a person wanted to drink, and each admission included raffle tickets. During the anniversary celebration, Innovation Brew Works expanded the area to the outdoor spaces around it to accommodate for the increased attendance and for the live music. While the café remained open for business, they also provided free popcorn. In the late afternoon, guests could meet the head brewer and learn about the brewery, the curriculum, and the background of Innovation Brew Works. Despite the rain, this brewery’s anniversary ran smoothly with no problems whatsoever, a perfect way to enjoy a visit to a brewery without the fuss of crowds and pricey admission fees.

I do not know if they distribute their brews, as I have not seen them anywhere else, not even beer festivals. If you want to see and learn more about Innovation Brew works, check them out on Facebook. If an education in brewing sounds interesting to you, check out their curriculum page linked above for information about how to attend Cal Poly Pomona.

Corgi lovers and Corgi owners united this past Saturday afternoon for a dog day at the beach at the SoCal Corgi Nation‘s 5th Annual Spring SoCal Corgi Beach Day. At this free and all-ages event, thousands of passionate Corgi owners gathered for a fun & fur-filled day on the sandy dunes of the Huntington Beach Dog Beach. Over 600 Corgis appeared to play, mingle, and enjoy this special day for them. Activities primarily included an Instagram photo meet-up and a limbo contest. Other than that, the day consisted of mingling, chatting, and playing with all the cute pups.

Looking forward to the next Corgi Beach Day? Mark your calendars for the summer meetup on Saturday, July 2nd at its other home of Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, as they plan more activities revolving around the 4th of July weekend. In the meantime, check out some of my photos from this past Saturday at the Spring SoCal Corgi Beach Day.

Dogz 5 Year Anniversary
11:00 am – 1:30 am, April 12
Dogz Bar and Grill, Long Beach

Belmont Shore’s Dogz turns five years old this week, and to celebrate, they will have live music this Tuesday night. Also expect food and drink specials all day.

Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, April 12
Ben & Jerry’s, Worldwide

Get one FREE ice cream cone this Tuesday at any participating Ben & Jerry’s store.

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers Night
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 12
Select Beer Store, Redondo Beach

Catch a taste of San Francisco’s Speakeasy Ales this Tuesday night at Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach. This event has no cover charge – simply show up, and enjoy a beer or two.

5th Annual Roar in The Shore
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, April 13
Legends, Belmont Shore, Long Beach

Completely free to attend, guests can view race cars on displays, and receive racer autographs.

Firestone Walker Night
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 13
Far Bar, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

Little Tokyo’s Far Bar will have some rare Firestone Walker brews available this Wednesday night, as well as the founder himself for a meet & greet. This event has no cover charge – simply show up, and enjoy a cold one or two.

Peelander-Z @ The Frida Cinema
8:00 pm – 11:00 pm, April 13
The Frida Cinema, Santa Ana

Weird and wacky come to Santa Ana this Wednesday night. Enjoy an all-ages night of mischief and mayhem for just $10.

Canstruction LA 2016
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 14
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 15
10:00 am – 1:00 pm, April 16
Farmers and Merchants Bank Building, Downtown LA

Free to attend for all ages, see glorious art works made with cans this weekend in Downtown LA.

Mother Earth Brewing Tap Takeover
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 14
Blue Palms Brewhouse, Hollywood

San Diego’s Mother Earth Brewing will take over the taps at Hollywood’s Blue Palms Brewhouse this Thursday night. This event has no cover charge – simply show up, and enjoy a cold one or two.

23rd Annual Wild & Crazy Taco Night
4:30 pm – 7:30 pm, April 14
Share Our Selves, Costa Mesa

25 of Orange County’s finest chefs will gather to prepare their most unusual and unique taco. Come witness history in the making, as chefs strive to reinvent the wheel by crafting the new generation of tacos. VIP hour starts at 4:30pm and costs $150, while general admission starts at 5:30pm and costs $80.

2016 Unite Belgian Trippel Release
5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, April 14
Anaheim Brewery, Anaheim

Every year, Anaheim Brewery makes a beer for International Women’s Day. This beer comes out this Thursday evening at their tasting room in Anaheim. This event has no cover charge, so stop on by and show support for the women.

Tacos And Beer Tasting
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, April 14
San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego

Enjoy tastings from several popular local breweries, snack on a variety of delicious tacos, take fun snapshots in the photo booth, explore exciting exhibits, and revel in the festive atmosphere inside one of San Diego’s top museums. Admission costs $30. No one under 21 may participate.

Business & Beer @ Absolution Brewing
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, April 14
Absolution Brewing, Torrance

This monthly networking event for small business owners visits a South Bay brewery every second Thursday of the month. This month, they will hit up Absolution Brewing in Torrance. If you have involvement with a small business, love craft beer, or both, then stop by this Thursday night.

Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk (Second Thursdays)
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 14
Downtown Los Angeles

This free monthly event takes place over many blocks in Downtown Los Angeles. Many galleries will open late, and some parking lots will contain more art, vendors, food trucks, entertainment, and more. Unless you know business owners, free parking barely exists in Downtown LA, although some meters only operate until 8pm. First-time visitors should attend with someone who has gone here prior.

Viet Film Fest 2016
6:00 pm – 12:30 am, April 14
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, April 15,17
11:00 am – 12:30 am, April 16
Orange Outlets, Orange

The Outlets at Orange will show many Vietnamese films this weekend. Check out the schedule on the website, which also lists the ticket prices for each film.

Tecate Light Thunder Thursday
6:30 pm – 10:30 pm, April 14
Pine & Broadway, Downtown Long Beach

Completely free to attend for all ages, guests can catch motorcycle shows, race cars on display, racer autographs, a rock wall, live music, and more. Guests can find free parking for up to two hours in the structures east of Pine and north of 3rd.

Union 13: Live at Five Star Bar
7:30 pm – 12:30 am, April 14
Five Star Bar, Downtown Los Angeles

Hardcore punk band Union 13 will headline a show in Los Angeles before traveling down to Mexico for a tour. The cover for this Downtown LA show this Thursday night costs $7. No one under 21 may enter.

D.I.Y. Festival Competition
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 14
The Vibe Bar & Grill, Riverside

Check out this music & art festival this Thursday night in Riverside. Admission costs $7 presale or $10 at the door. No one under 18 may enter.

42nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
7:00 am – 9:00 pm, April 15-16
7:00 am – 5:30 pm, April 17
Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach

Catch all the excitement of the races all weekend in beautiful Downtown Long Beach, as the streets transform into a speed zone. Open to all ages, racing events take place throughout the day, so attendees can catch a race at most times of the day. Consult the website to further read about the race schedule, but know that the celebrity race takes place in the early afternoon on Saturday, and the grand prix takes place Sunday afternoon. Ticket prices vary by type, but a general admission weekend pass costs $70. The massive area that the grand prix covers features multiple entrances, so visitors do not need to seek out any particular entrance – just the entrance most convenient to them. All visitors must mind the increased traffic in & around Long Beach during this weekend, plus the multiple street closures. Preferably, public transportation remains the same price, so visitors should look into that option. As the races take place entirely outdoors, attendees should prepare for the excess heat with sunblock and plenty of hydration. Most if not all of the vendors accept cash only, but attendees can still access businesses in Shoreline Village, which will accept cards.

The Trooper Returns
3:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 15
12:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 16
Phantom Carriage Brewery, Carson

Iron Maiden beer comes to Phantom Carriage in Carson this weekend, and you have a chance to scoop some up. Free to attend, Phantom Carriage will sell the limited Iron Maiden beers on a first come, first served basis, and they will also show Iron Maiden concert videos all weekend.

Tour For Life: Pet Adoptions
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, April 15
Pet Food Express, Pasadena

A pet adoption event comes to Pasadena this Friday evening. Stop on by, as they will have giveaways, discounted pet adoptions, and more.

Odd Nights at the Autry
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, April 15
Autry Museum, Los Angeles

Free to attend for all ages, enjoy an evening of shopping, live music, food, arts & crafts, and more at the Autry Museum this Friday night.

Steinfest – Oktoberfest in April
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 15
Alpine Village, Torrance

Alpine Village’s traditional Oktoberfest celebration returns for its mid-year event this Friday night. Admission costs $10, but those arriving in an Oktoberfest outfit can enter for free! No one under 21 may attend.

Tough Mudder Los Angeles 2016
7:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 16-17
Glen Helen Raceway, San Bernardino

Tough Mudder needs no introduction – its legacy alone describes it in ways that words cannot. Expect to train hard this week, all leading up to madness this weekend.

Pinup Girl Clothing Yardsale
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 16
Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim

Check out this pinup clothing pop-up taking place this Saturday at the Marriott in Anaheim near the convention center. Free to attend for all ages, expect to find many clothes and accessories for under $60. While the vendors will accept both cash and credit, parking at the venue takes cash only.

Green Scene Plant & Garden Expo
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 16-17
Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton

Check out a diverse range of plants, arts & crafts, and more this weekend at the Fullerton Arboretum at Cal State Fullerton. Admission costs $8 for this all-ages event.

Downtown Burbank Arts Festival
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 16-17
San Fernando Blvd b/t Magnolia & Olive, Downtown Burbank

Check out hundreds of artists, street painters, sidewalk chalk artists, and more this weekend in Downtown Burbank. Completely free to attend for all ages, guests can exhibit the many art on display, create their own art with sidewalk chalk or other artists allowing guests to interact, or purchase art to take home.

Rendezvous Artisan Market: Santa Monica
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 16-17
Museum of Flying, Santa Monica

Free to attend for all ages, over a hundred local vendors will set up in Santa Monica for a weekend of food, treats, shopping, and more.

25th Annual Poppy Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 16-17
Lancaster City Park, Lancaster

Bring out the family to this all-ages family-fun festival this weekend in Lancaster. This festival will have plenty of activities for everyone to get involved with, along with food, drinks, multiple vendors, music, dance, art, games, rides, and more. Admission for regular adults costs $8, while children, seniors, and military can enter for $5.

LAUSD Grand Arts Festival
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, April 16
Grand Park, Downtown Los Angeles

Free to attend for all ages, thousands of students from dozens of LA County schools will exhibit their art at this event in Downtown LA this Saturday afternoon. Visitors will also find live entertainment, gourmet food trucks, arts & crafts, and more.

Steampunk Spring Picnic
10:30 am – 5:30 pm, April 16
Old Poway Train Park, Poway

Mix & mingle with other steampunk enthusiasts this Saturday in Poway. This event has no cover charge or strict programming – just show up whenever you like, preferably dressed for the occasion, and socialize.

Abnormal Beer Company’s One Year Anniversary
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, April 16
The Cork and Craft, Rancho Bernardo, San Diego

Abnormal Beer Company launched to the public last year, and they have just turned a year old. To celebrate, they will have a party right where it started last year. Free to attend for all ages, guests will find special brews, bar bites, a live DJ, raffle prizes, a preview of the brewery expansion, and more.

Bikini Bike Wash
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, April 16
Huntington Beach Harley Davidson, Westminster

Got a Harley that needs a wash? Bring it down to HB Harley Davidson this Saturday and let some bikini girls wash it for you. Bring cash to pay for the wash, plus some extra cash for tip.

Star Wars: May The Furs Be With You
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 16
Dogtopia Doggy Day Care, Anaheim

A doggy fundraiser comes to Anaheim Hills this Saturday afternoon. This event will have two life size, fully functional R2-D2 droids, plus volunteers from the 501st Legion and the Rebel Legion in costume. Attendees can take lots of photos, participate in costume contests, purchase raffle tickets, and more. Admission costs $10 for adults or $5 for children.

11th Annual Vintage Fashion Show and Tea
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 16
Heritage Square Museum, Los Angeles

See beautiful costumes and vintage gowns this Saturday in Los Angeles. Following the fashion show, visitors can participate in an afternoon tea buffet, check out the museum, browse the fashion vendors, and more. Presale tickets cost $30 for adults or $15 for children.

4th Annual Riverside Tamale Festival
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, April 16
White Park, Riverside

Enjoy Hispanic food and culture this Saturday afternoon in Riverside. Admission costs only $5, but all guests must pay for tamales at cost, so bring cash for that.

Santa Barbara Earth Day 2016
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, April 16-17
Alameda Park, Santa Barbara

Free to attend for all ages, Santa Barbara will host an Earth Day fair this weekend. Guests will find lots of activities, arts & crafts, live entertainment, food & drinks, and more.

2nd Annual L.A. Local Craft Beer & Artisan Food Fest
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, April 16
Alpine Village, Torrance

Check out the best of local food and beer at this tasting event this Saturday afternoon at Alpine Village in Torrance. Admission costs $35 presale or $40 at the door, and provides access to unlimited food and beer tastings while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

16th Annual Taste of Hillcrest
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, April 16
5th & Robinson, Hillcrest, San Diego

Savor the flavors of all the amazing eateries in Hillcrest this Saturday afternoon. Over 40 restaurants will offer delicious samples to guests, while a handful of local breweries will provide beer tasters for guests. Admission costs $30 presale or $35 on the day of the event. Admission includes 50 taster tickets, and each location accepts different amounts of tickets. Guests can move at their own pace, and select which locations to spend their tickets at.

2016 California Wine Festival – Dana Point
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, April 16
Lantern Bay Park, Dana Point

Enjoy food and wine at this wine tasting event this Saturday afternoon in Dana Point. General admission costs $69 and starts at 1pm, early admission costs $89 and starts at 12pm, and VIP admission costs $109, starts at 12pm, and includes a few extra VIP perks.

Monrovia Station Beer & Music Festival
1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, April 16
Metro Gold Line Monrovia Station, Monrovia

To celebrate the opening of Station Square Park & Metro Gold Line, Monrovia will have a beer and music festival there this Saturday afternoon. General admission costs $45 and starts at 2pm, while VIP admission costs $55 and starts at 1pm. Admission at the gate costs $65, if any tickets remain. All attendees receive fifteen 6oz beer tasters, plus access to local food vendors and the live music stage. No one under 21 may attend.

Mikkeller Brewing San Diego Grand Opening
3:00 pm – 11:00 pm, April 16
Mikkeller Brewing, Miramar, San Diego

Guess who took over the old AleSmith location? Mikkeller has touched down in Southern California, and they will open their doors to the public this Saturday afternoon. Free to attend, guests will find plenty of booze, live music, mobile food vendors, and more.

Cosmo 7K – All Ladies Run/Walk
3:30 pm – 9:30 pm, April 16
Fairplex, Pomona

Only women can participate in this 7k fun run this Saturday! All participants receive complimentary snacks, a t-shirt, a souvenir martini glass, a goodie bag, and more.

OC Roller Girls: I Love Block And Roll
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 16
The Rinks, Huntington Beach

Watch intense & brutal girl-on-girl action at this roller derby bout this Saturday night in Huntington Beach. Tickets to this roller derby bout cost $15.

Implants: Live in Laguna Niguel
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 16
The Karman Bar, Laguna Niguel

Check out some great local punk rock bands this Saturday night in Laguna Niguel. Tickets to this show cost $7 presale or $10 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

Guttermouth: Live in Corona
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 16
Bar 1650, Corona

Everyone’s favorite offensive punk band Guttermouth will headline a small show in Corona this Saturday night. Tickets to this show cost $15. No one under 21 may enter.

30th Annual Fallbrook Avocado Festival
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 17
Main Street, Downtown Fallbrook

This annual local treat returns to Fallbrook this Sunday to celebrate the legacy of the California avocado. Free to attend for all ages, visitors will find hundreds of vendors booths, arts & crafts, live entertainment, food & drinks, activities, and more.

27th Annual San Diego Earth Fair
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 17
Balboa Park, San Diego

This FREE and all-ages Earth Day celebration takes place this Sunday at Balboa Park in San Diego. Bring the family out to enjoy this fair with art galleries, “green” food, arts & crafts, vendors, a parade, and more.

Pinup Parade in the Park
10:00 am – 8:00 pm, April 17
Disneyland Park, Anaheim

Pinup Girl Clothing will host their semiannual pinup model meetup this Sunday at Disneyland. In addition to plenty of photo opportunities, expect to find goodie bags, trivia, contests, and more.

Local Brews & Local Grooves
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, April 17
House of Blues, Anaheim

Sample beers from over a dozen breweries while enjoying the sounds of local musicians at this semiannual food & beer event this Sunday afternoon at House of Blues in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Admission costs $12, while the tasting wristband costs an additional $15 and come with five taste tickets, good towards food or beer.

The age of the domestic beer monopoly in the United States shrinks with each passing day. The beer industry around the world dominates the alcoholic beverage industry, as consumers drink 3,500 bottles of beer for every one glass of wine – that makes 8,000 times more beer consumed by the liter. Annually, consumers worldwide drink 189 billion liters of beer, but only 24 million liters of wine. While drinking habits may peak during certain times of the year such as holidays, the consumption of beverages remains fairly consistent and rarely makes huge changes in consumption from one day to the next. The changing seasons do have a great effect on the types and styles of beers consumed, as more people start to prefer beers not as rich as some of the winter-style brews. In this transitional season between winter and summer, the unpredictable weather means that we can still enjoy the richer beers typically consumed during colder weather while starting to explore the refreshment of summer-style beers. For the right kind of beer to enjoy until summer kicks in after Memorial Day, check out these five beers each with a unique flavor profile of its own.

5. Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment‘s Strawberry Blondie

Springtime reminds us of the resurgence of fresh greens and produce as plants start to awaken from their slumber following winter. In the spring, we see fresh seasonal produce such as potatoes, turnips/parsnips, green onions, and especially strawberries. Spring marks an important time of the year for this lovely fruit that the entire world has fallen in love with, as the harvest can overwhelm some farms with how much they need to ship out. In fact, some farms may even invite the public to come pick their own strawberries! People love strawberries so much that they have started to include strawberries in food and drinks, something that Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment has done. Based in the west coast craft beer capital, Acoustic Ales knows a thing or two about staying fresh and keeping up with the times. Their dedication to their craft stems from their love of music, which always goes through phases of fads and trends. When it comes to brewing, Acoustic Ales keeps up with the times with fresh seasonal ingredients, evident in their Strawberry Blondie. This seasonal fruit beer pours a hazy orange amber color, but the aromas of light bread and strawberries lead to a nicely balanced flavor of natural strawberries freshly picked from Carlsbad with a touch of tartness and balancing malts. At 6.0% abv, this brew not only refreshes your palate, but relaxes your body.

4. Founders Brewing‘s Rübæus

Continuing on with the fresh fruit theme, the local selection of fresh fruits and vegetables varies greatly between different regions. Hops grown in different places around the world have a profound effect on the result of a beer. Hops from the Pacific northwest have a piney and citrus finish to them. Hops from England have a more earthy tone to them. Hops from Germany have more body and somewhat of a spice characteristic. This lends to the certain styles of beer exclusive to these regions, much like how we associate bocks with Germany/Austria, or English Special Bitters (ESB) with England. Local farms play a big role in this too, as some climates can affect what local farms can grow, which Founders Brewing has taken advantage of. As one of the big names in the craft beer industry to finally make its way to the west coast, Founders Brewing brings a taste of home with them wherever they go. Their location lends well to the ingredients they use in their brews, such as with the flavors of fresh raspberries in their Rübæus (roo-BAE-yis). Available year-round, this garnet brew contains dominant aromas of fresh raspberries with sweet and tart flavors, ending with a crisp finish. At just 5.7%, Founders Brewing loves to ring in the warmer months with Rübæus as the perfect way to cool down.

3. Almanac Beer Company‘s Golden Gate Gose

When the weather starts to warm up, people tend to want to stray away from warm, hearty foods to start looking for lighter, more refreshing things. For example, instead of a hot coffee, a person would go for an iced tea instead. Instead of a hot chocolate, a person would go for a strawberry or vanilla milkshake. In the beer world, people move from dark ales like stouts or porters over to refreshing brews like a saison or gose. The gose style remains largely unknown to non-enthusiasts, so a gose remains a style known primarily by those with extensive experience drinking craft beer. For those looking for a good approachable gose, look towards Almanac Beer Company. Based in California’s Bay Area, Almanac has an extensive reach across the nation with their “farm to barrel” approach. Their location allows them easy access to the countless farms of California, proving Almanac plenty of sources for fresh ingredients to go into their brews. One can taste the variety of fresh ingredients in Almanac’s Golden Gate Gose. Inspired by classic wheat ales from Leipzig, Germany, Almanac brews this California-inspired version with San Francisco Bay sea salt, lemon verbena from Eatwell Farm in Dixon, and coriander grown & dried by Dirty Girl Produce in Santa Cruz. Golden Gate Gose pours pale, straw-yellow color with a bright foamy head. The bright aroma contains pale malts, stone fruit, and light hop characteristics. At 5.0% abv, this year-round brew tastes very fruity with hints of apricot, peach, and crackery malts & peppery spices. Crisp and refreshing, this gose has a somewhat salty finish and pairs well with fresh seafood.

2. Uinta Brewing‘s Bière de Mars

Around the world, people regard the French for their wines and cuisine. The French have very unique tastes and styles when in comes to food or drinks. No one can truly pinpoint the French style down to one particular taste, as it represents the style as an entity rather than one particular flavor that stands out. As a result, French food and drinks can taste very different, yet it has that aura that can only derive from France. When it comes to French beer, they usually have some earthy or fruity flavor to it (exceptions apply, of course). French ales usually have a lot of body and feel filling when drinking it. To get a sense of what this feels like, we turn towards Uinta Brewing. Uinta has quite a legacy in the craft beer industry here in the United States, as their retail products have touched all four corners of the country. As a brewery, Uinta has pretty much done it all, from basic beers to crazy ideas to barrel-aged beers and beyond. Uinta often dabbles in limited edition beers too, and this time, they have gone the way of the French in their Bière de Mars. In fact, Uinta brewed this limited release ale so recently that nobody has an official description of the ale, not even Uinta on their website themselves. The hops used in this brew originate from multiple regions of Europe, from the Czech to the Germans to the Austrians to the Belgians and, of course, the French. These all come together to form a mellow and spicy body, perfectly complementing the characteristics of a smooth dark lager. Uinta aged this French-style spring ale in chardonnay barrels, and the resulting brew comes out at 7.20% abv. You can only taste this blend of French and American brewing techniques for a limited time, as nobody knows if Uinta plans to keep this in their repertoire.

1. Mammoth Brewing Company‘s Dos Osos

The spring season means that things start to come out of hibernation. When spring hits, the weather warms up, events start to crop up, and holidays & festivals appear all over the place. Spring provides us with a lot of celebratory holidays and occasions, such as Easter, Memorial Day, and Cinco de Mayo. Getting together to socialize belongs in our human natures, so we want to have as many chances to get together as possible. When an occasion arises, we want to have all the necessary preparations completed and out of the way. This means having the right food and drinks available to satisfy everyone around. To get into the spirit, people celebrate with food and drinks based on the occasion; for example, the consumption of Mexican or Latin foods & drinks increases for Cinco de Mayo. For the perfect Cinco de Mayo celebratory brew, Mammoth Brewing Company has you covered. It sounds strange that a brewery all the way up in the mountains of Central California has the perfect thing for a Cinco de Mayo party, but rest assured they got this one right. As their name suggests, Mammoth Brewing hails from Mammoth Lakes in California, a place known as a winter vacation spot. Despite this, Mammoth Brewing has a lineup of beer that spans the entire calendar, including their Dos Osos. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, Mammoth Brewing brews this imperial Mexican-style dark lager with vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and Mammoth’s own Black Velvet coffee. Dos Osos emits decadent aromas of toasted nuts, chocolate malts, smoky characters, coffee, and cocoa nibs backed up by vanilla. The flavor follows with toasted malty coffee, nutty characters, dark fruit, and vanilla dominating the profile, while at the same time blending with chocolate, brown sugar, and a suggestion of cinnamon. The lager yeast and long cold aging keeps the beer especially clean and crisp in the finish. Dos Osos pours a light brown/red color with a khaki head. The 7.5% abv will keep you feeling good as you sip on this brew and enjoy whatever occasion you may find yourself drinking Dos Osos at.

Reminiscing back to our childhoods, we recall all the good times and bad times that significantly impacted us as children. Everyone remembers certain moments during their childhoods that has permanently affected our personalities today. Even without anything to capture those moments, we can still reminisce about the good old days through photos taken way back then. In fact, today’s society has accepted Throwback Thursdays as an homage to the good old days, when life did not bear so much worry, and we could live out our days without fear or oppression. These days, society has to deal with corruption on many levels, from governments to the internet to bullies in school and more. Like the human immune system, society reacts to these corruptions by implementing methods to combat those problems by either minimizing problems or eliminating them altogether. This may not restore the good old days, but as a society, we still like to look back to what paved the way for us to stand here today. Significantly, we remember the foods we once ate as children, even recalling the low prices. Those old signs advertising $0.10 French Fries did not lie – food stands actually sold items that now cost ten times more, or even more than that! Though we can still buy the same fast food items as back then, we have much better options today as far as finer dining without the inflated price tags. If you miss those $0.10 fries, wait until you see some of the appetizers that you can share with friends or enjoy as an entrée. I have discovered five different shareable appetizers that you can find in the Greater Los Angeles Area, and you can either enjoy these on its own or share them among the table.

5. Out Of The Park Pizza‘s Pizza Poppers

No matter where in the world you may find yourself, certain foods always make their way to every corner of the world. From hamburgers to hot dogs to rice and more, ingredients play a major role in the coverage of certain types of food. Big corporate chain restaurants ensure the spread of many of the more common foods, lending part to the world’s love of these foods, such as pizza. Various types of pizzas now exist because people try to get creative with how they eat pizza instead of the traditional round pizza cut into slices. For something a little more portable and fun, head to Out Of The Park Pizza. Out Of The Park Pizza does not shy away from extravagant toppings on their pizzas, coming up with different types of pizzas such as a Western Barbecue pizza or a Buffalo Chicken pizza. While they have interesting toppings for their pizzas, they have turned their pizzas into an appetizer in the form of their Pizza Poppers. Imagine a slice of pepperoni pizza that they rolled into a ball that resembles a round pastry stuffed with cheese and pepperoni, and you have Pizza Poppers. It does not contain tomato sauce – they provide marinara sauce on the side as a dip. You can order Pizza Poppers as a five-piece snack for $6.99 or a 12-piece shareable appetizer plate for $9.99.

4. Abigaile‘s Pão de Queijo

As humans, we live for variety and diversity. Unlike animals that “eat to live,” some might say that humans “live to eat.” For example, a pet dog or cat feels perfectly content eating the exact same food everyday for his or her entire life. However, if a human attempted that, he or she would go insane from the thought of it. As an aside, this regularly occurs in prisons where inmates get no choice in what they can eat. Humans crave variety, and need something different in their lives instead of living a routine day by day, and people can find diverse foods at a restaurant like Abigaile. Although appearing upscale and fancy, Abigaile actually functions like a casual gastropub, especially given their location by the beach so that beachgoers can dine at Abigaile without worry of their outfit. Perhaps Abigaile appears upscale due to their food menu, which contains some highly eclectic items such as their Pão de Queijo. A Brazilian classic, these Brazilian cheese puffs resemble a hybrid between a bread roll and a hot cheese snack. Chewy and gooey, biting into these cheese poofs feels like biting into a solid mass of warm cheese coated with butter and a slight fluff of bread. For $5, this heavenly appetizer at Abigaile comes with a side of spice honey to help complement the cheesy flavor.

3. Peter’s Gourmade Grill‘s Gooeys

How do you get the word out about your business if you do not do any marketing? You have to deliver something so good that the customers will spread the word about you. In this modern time of internet marketing and social media, all business owners need to utilize all available tools to get the word out about their businesses. Consider that many of these marketing tools have no cost to using them other than time to set up the information. Once set up, the people will do the work as long as you provide something that the people will want to come back for, such as the memorable food at Peter’s Gourmade Grill in Tustin. As a hole-in-the-wall that many people can easily drive by without ever noticing it, Peter’s Gourmade Grill only focuses on what they do best: grilling up foods with a twist, and each twist varies between each menu item. Perhaps the people continually return to Peter’s for these twists, since not many other places have the same combinations that Peter’s offers. Take, for example, their Gooeys. Originally intended as a shared dessert, this massive pile of sweet potato fries gets dressed up with brown sugar, maple syrup, and toasted marshmallows. Has anyone else ever thought of this combination? Perhaps so, but definitely nowhere else in Southern California can you find something like this. At $7.25, this can treat an entire family, as I cannot conceive any sole person devouring an entire order in one sitting.

2. Eat Chego‘s Ooey Gooey Fries

When a food truck converts to a restaurant, one can expect to find similarities between the food truck and the restaurant. When the founder of Kogi BBQ opened Eat Chego, food truck fans from all over flocked to this permanent Kogi fixture to experience Kogi in a more solid setting. As one of the originals, Kogi had one of the largest fan bases of any gourmet food truck, and continued to prosper in long lines for years to come. This popularity easily carried over to Eat Chego and also attracted countless more food fans to savor the flavor of what started a revolution. Although Eat Chego does not serve exactly what Kogi does, the flavors resemble each other, especially in the fan favorite Ooey Gooey Fries. This $6 bowl of beer-battered fries gets topped with sour cream sambal, three cheeses (Monterey jack, cheddar, and cotija), chilies, cilantro, and pickled garlic. Despite its vegetarian nature, people go nuts for this bowl, especially for the pickled garlic. The sauce adds a sour yet spicy flavor, while the cheese gives it a more gritty texture. The pickled garlic does not overwhelm the palate – it contains enough of a bite that you will immediately detect it, but the pickling essentially dilutes its potency. It adds the perfect amount of zing to this bowl. Although one can finish these fries as an entrée, because of the intense flavor profile, I suggest sharing this with a friend.

1. Smoqued BBQ‘s Burnt Ends

With a handle on what the people want, Smoqued BBQ ensures that they rarely run out of customer favorites. This BBQ restaurant in Old Towne Orange delivers classic BBQ dishes using their own recipes, while slinging out over a dozen different types of craft beers at any given moment. Their extensive food menu carries multiple variations of their signature BBQ meats, from brisket to pulled pork to tri-tip to ribs and more. Perhaps the one dish that brings customers back the most resides on their appetizers section. In the appetizers section lies the appropriately named Brisket Burnt Ends. Sure they list this in the appetizers section, and they present it in a way that multiple people can share it. However, after you bite into one of these juicy morsels, you will want the plate all to yourself. This half-pound mound of meaty goodness consists of double-smoked brisket cube ends, which they caramelize in their house BBQ sauce. For burnt ends, the pieces retain their juiciness, as the seared caramelization of the sauce on the outside seals the meat’s natural juices inside. As if the outside did not contain enough heavenly flavor, the meat itself gives a rich, hearty, beefy taste that only true grillmasters can produce. Smoqued BBQ vows to always have the Brisket Burnt Ends available for customers to order. However, if they get slammed on any given day, they may run out by the end of the day. As a result, if you desire some top-notch burnt ends, head on over to Smoqued BBQ in Orange as early in the day as possible, and order up some burnt ends for yourself for $13.49. The price tag may appear steep, but once you get hooked, you may quickly overlook that.

Perception never falls into the simple categorization of black versus white. Perception falls anywhere within a boundless spectrum of antipodes. The problem lies with people’s ability to conceive perceptions beyond their scope. You can ask a person what type of music they love the most, while the next person may loathe that type of music. Most people claim to not like country music, yet the truth reveals that they simply have no preference for it; however, few people actually get adamant about the music. Going beyond preferences commonly exists in food and beverages. Where one person may call something “the best,” another will claim something else as better. For example, my father swears by the $2 wine from Trader Joe’s, unable to accept that pricier fine wines taste better. Some people say that no other burger can top a common burger from corporate fast food or corporate restaurants. People truly get attached to their fast food burgers and refuse to believe that better burgers exist out there. Whether or not you claim to know about the best burger in the world, I encourage you to seek out these five burgers in the greater Los Angeles area this season and give them a try. Who knows – maybe you will alter your opinions after one bite!

5. Village Idiot‘s Griddle Burger

With all these newfangled restaurants popping up everywhere, sometimes it helps to exhibit a little modesty. Young adults want to visit the trendiest, hippest restaurants and/or bars because of interaction and mingling with others of similar age and personality. With so many of these new places around, some restaurants or bars just want to resemble the go-to place away from all the hustle of noisy places. Enter the Village Idiot in West Hollywood as your go-to place to relax. The Village Idiot looks like your typical neighborhood restaurant with no frills or anything fancy inside. They have an old-fashioned bar with plenty of seating in the dining area, perfect for parties of all sizes. With a wide array of food and drink options, Village Idiot will have something for everyone. For something familiar yet scrumptious, go with their Griddle Burger. This simple yet effective $15 burger carries two patties along with dijon mustard and a heaping serving of caramelized onions, with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and fries on the side. Accessorize your burger with cheese or a fried egg at an additional cost. Available throughout the day, this burger will help you get away from the bustle of daily life momentarily while you savor this local flavor.

4. Brew Kitchen Ale House‘s Smokin’ Bacon Burger

When attributing food to a particular location, each region has its own designation on how people should perceive it. For example, we often hear about western, eastern, northern, and southern food. While in the United States this applies mainly to the contingent 48 states, the rest of the world sees things differently. The world does not have northern (New England) or southern (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, etc) cuisine. Instead, the world primarily splits up regions by either its exact name (Japanese, Italian, etc) or simply east versus west. We know that eastern tends to refer to Asian cuisine, while western refers to American barbecue. Why barbecue specifically, I do not have the precise answer, but I do know that Brew Kitchen Ale House has a killer western-influenced menu. Tucked away in a strip mall in Los Alamitos, Brew Kitchen Ale House aims to bring a craft beer presence to Los Alamitos, historically a conservative city. They employ a rotating tap system much like other prominent craft beer restaurants, which greatly accompanies their food menu. Brew Kitchen Ale House contains many gastropub staples, such as their Smokin’ Bacon Burger. This meaty burger comes with sharp cheddar cheese, cherry wood bacon, beer barrel onion strings, and Uncle Joe’s Memphis Brew-B-Que sauce, served with a side of bar fries. Why people associate this particular combination of ingredients with “western” I will never know. However, I do know that you can pound this burger for just $11 at Brew Kitchen Ale House in Los Alamitos.

3. Dory Deli‘s Dory Burger

How does a business generate buzz and hype? Marketing comes in many forms, and each method of marketing reaches out to a different audience. Does a business use word-of-mouth? Does a business use friends & family referrals? Does a business pay for ad space? Does a business rely on internet and social media? No matter how a business chooses to market, they still need to get their name out there, but how they get from point A to point B can differ based on the business owner’s preference. But what if you have products so good that the product markets itself? Enter Dory Deli, a local treat whose name speaks for itself. Located just a stone’s throw away from the sands of Newport Beach, Dory Deli opened their doors last year to the delight of many locals for their use of locally sourced ingredients prepared with fresh, unique flavors. Although they have “Deli” in their name, Dory Deli functions as more than just a deli – they represent a full-service restaurant, along with fresh coffee and juices. Along the menu, you can find hot items such as their Dory Burger. This thick burger patty gets paired with pastrami, horseradish-beet sauce, sliced pickles, caramelized onions, and Swiss cheese on a brioche bun. This burger comes a la carte for $11. Parking nearby requires coins for meters, so if you want to park for free, expect to have to park further and walk quite a bit.

2. 25 Degrees Huntington Beach‘s Number 4

Cheese: you either love it or you hate it. Cheese has existed long before anyone even thought to record the discovery of it. Since the beginning, cheese has made its way all over the culinary world, and has seen countless variations. The texture, flavor, shape, aroma, and other factors all vary based on where it started, how it started, and who made it. Certain cheeses fit certain foods better; for example, mozzarella goes well with pizza, while cheddar goes well with hamburgers. In more recent times, creative chefs have mixed up cheese types to attempt to draw out new flavor combinations. Some have worked, others have not. But when a combination does work, the chef will hastily add it to the menu, just like at 25 Degrees. While 25 Degrees has multiple locations including one in Los Angeles, each one has its own menu, so this will focus on its Huntington Beach location. 25 Degrees represents your typical gastropub and whisky bar, with a lineup full of different beverages and a menu full of goodies. At night, most people go here for the drinks. Throughout the rest of the day, people go here for both the food and drinks, where they might order something such as the Number 4. Unique to the Huntington Beach location, the fourth burger on their menu has bacon, barbecue sauce, mezzo secco cheese, jack cheese, chipotlé aioli, and a fried onion ring. After a few bites, you may just want a side of the cheese by itself due to its savory nature that does not overwhelm the taste senses. To experience this cheesy bliss, check out 25 Degrees in Downtown Huntington Beach order the Number 4 for $11.

1. Rockfire Grill‘s Carnitas Burger

If something on the menu has the word (ham)burger in it, you can bet it will have ground beef in it. Traditional hamburgers have the ground beef patty inside a hamburger bun. However, the definition has expanded to allow more than just the bun to define the dish. For example, hamburger pasta means pasta that has ground beef in it, even if it contains just ground beef pieces instead of a solid patty. Because of this expansion of the definition of a hamburger, creative minds have come up with other ways to build upon the traditional dish. Aside from different toppings or different ways to build the patty, one can take a look at the bun. Everyone has surely seen lettuce-wrapped burgers know as “protein-style” burgers, but you can use more than just an ordinary bun to hold a burger, something that Rockfire Grill has grasped the concept of. Rockfire Grill’s primary draw revolves around their use of a wood-fire oven to bake and cook most of their ingredients. From pizzas to flatbreads to fresh focaccia bread, Rockfire Grill has a unique approach to fresh foods. They use this oven to cook not only their meats, but the breads they use for their menu items, including their burgers and sandwiches. Rockfire Grill wraps their burgers inside their fresh-baked focaccia bread, creating something similar to a pita wrap. Their Carnitas Burger contains two different meats stuffed inside a focaccia bread. After splitting open a fresh-baked focaccia bread, Rockfire Grill fills it with an angus beef patty, salsa verde, pulled pork, tender greens, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and their house spread. You can taste this fresh-baked difference for $8.95 at the original Rockfire Grill in Mission Viejo, or check out their newer locations in Santa Ana and Newport Beach.

Eagle Rock Brewery has slowly risen as one of prominent breweries in the Los Angeles area. As a brewery with a balanced focus, they brew beers as light as 3.8% to as high as 10.8%. To reach out to a broader audience, head brewer Jeremy chooses to focus more on bold flavors than strong or bitter beers, evident in their four flagship beers: Solidarity, Manifesto, Revolution, and Populist. Following up on this notion, Eagle Rock Brewery started Session Fest three years ago. For those unfamiliar, session beers carry lots of flavor while keeping alcohol content low. This allows drinkers to enjoy more beers in a given time frame without overloading on alcohol or killing the palate with strong or hoppy beers. Fans accepted Eagle Rock Brewery’s bravery of hosting a small beer tasting with session beers, so the brewery followed up by hosting it again year after year. This Saturday at their tasting room, Eagle Rock Brewery will follow up with the sixth year in a row of hosting Session Fest.

Keeping with tradition, all of the staff at Eagle Rock Brewery will contribute towards the execution of Session Fest. Every staff member will bring their own session beer for the fest, based on their personal taste preference. Guests pay $15 at the counter to receive three 8oz pours of any session beer of their choice, plus the glass to take home. If guests want more than three beers, they can purchase more tasters at cost. Visitors will find the beers in both the tasting room and in the brewhouse (where the brewing occurs), but bear in mind that it gets rather warm in the brewhouse. Visitors should seek street parking on W Ave 32, one street beyond the brewery.

With today’s industry dominated by strong beers and the challenge to brew the strongest and most flavorful, an event like Session Fest feels refreshing, as it reminds us all that beer has more going on than simply a means to get drunk. Session beers allow us to appreciate the ingredients used in the brewing process without the inevitable intoxication that would normally dull the senses. Some other beer fests that focus on the strongest beers of the bunch would often have to face heavily intoxicated guests that may cause a ruckus or a mess. Eagle Rock Brewery aims to raise awareness of beers for their flavor rather than strength, and with Session Fest, they clearly head in the correct direction.

6th Annual East Village Opening Day Block Party
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 4
J Street b/w 6th & 10th, East Village, Downtown San Diego

This free and all-ages event celebrates the San Diego Padres’ annual opening game. This street party will have craft beer, live music, food, drinks, vendors, and more.

First Tuesdays Tap Takeover: Bottle Logic
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 5
Amazing Grapes, Rancho Santa Margarita

Amazing Grapes in Rancho Santa Margarita has a feature tap takeover every first Tuesday of the month. This month, they will feature Bottle Logic on tap. This event has no cover charge – simply show up, and enjoy a beer or more.

Stone Pilot Series: Experimental IPA Taste Test
11:00 am – 2:00 am, April 6
Far Bar, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles

Stone Brewing has some experimental IPA’s going on, and Far Bar will have two of them, #2 and #3. You get to help decide the customer favorite. Participants will get a taster of each first, then get a pint of their favorite. Whichever brew sells the most at the end of the day wins.

Brewballers Bottle Share
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, April 6
The Brew & Meatball Co., Covina

Got an interesting beer that you would like to share? Bring at least 750mL of beer, your own glass, and $10, and you can enjoy all the wonderful beers that everyone else will bring.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – First Wednesdays @ The Copper Door
9:30 pm – 12:00 am, April 6
The Copper Door, Downtown Santa Ana

Get your fill of burlesque every first Wednesday of the month at The Copper Door in Downtown Santa Ana, for free! Guests can park on the street for free after 8pm. No one under 21 may enter.

Scrapbook Expo – Orange County
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 7-9
Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim

The nationally-famous Scrapbook Expo comes to Southern California this week! Admission to this all-ages expo varies in price, starting at $8 for a one-day general admission adult ticket.

Taste of Leucadia: Food For Thought
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, April 7
Leucadia 101 Main Street, Encinitas

Sample the local flavors of Leucadia this Thursday evening at the Taste of Leucadia. For $20 presale or $30 on the day of the event, visitors get treated to unlimited food samples from all the participating restaurants. For an additional $15, guests can receive ten beer/wine tastings from select locations. The organizers have provided a shuttle that runs to and from city hall to alleviate the parking situation.

Spring Cider Slam with 2 Towns Ciderhouse
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, April 7
Restauration, Long Beach

Enjoy some spring seasonal ciders in Long Beach this Thursday evening. Enjoy them individually, or try all four as a flight. This event has no cover charge.

4th Annual Orange County Improv Festival
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 7-9
STAGEStheatre, Fullerton

Enjoy up to three nights of improv comedy in Orange County this weekend. Individual shows cost $10 to $15, while a pass for a full day costs $25. The venue has a small parking lot, and the surrounding neighborhood only allows parking for up to two hours, so plan your commute accordingly. The website does not specify an age minimum, though you can expect adult humor, so consider leaving the little ones at home.

Lucidity Festival 2016
10:00 am – 8:00 am, April 8-10
Live Oak Camp, Santa Barbara

Basically, a music & art festival that spans an entire weekend, similar to Coachella. This event runs nonstop from Friday morning through Monday morning. Lucidity requires many words to explain, which the website does a great job of. With dozens of stages, hundreds of vendors & artists, and endless activities, visitors will never run out of things to do here.

2016 Formula Drift
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, April 8
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 9
Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach

Taking place a week prior to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Formula Drift competition utilizes the sharpest turns of the track to put on a show that everyone can enjoy. Feel the excitement as drivers throw on their best drifting performance while narrowly dodging massive wipeouts. Guests may also visit a vendor village, receive autographs from drivers, see the pits up close and personal, and more. Tickets vary in price, but general admission to the Saturday main event costs $40 plus fees up to $10. Parking at the convention center costs $10, so plan to carpool, take public transportation, or park in the neighborhood to the east to alleviate that parking fee.

Jello Biafra DJ Set
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 8
Diego’s Rock n’ Roll Bar & Eats, Santa Ana

Enjoy a night of punk rock music this Friday night in Santa Ana. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

Los Skarnales Boss Bday Bash
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 8
Characters Sports Bar, Pomona

Rock out to local punk/ska bands this Friday night in Pomona. The cover for this show costs $8. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking around the area, and can avoid paying to park in the adjacent lot.

5th Annual Hollywood Half Marathon & 5k / 10k
5:00 am – 1:00 pm, April 9
Dolby Theatre, Hollywood

The streets of Hollywood close down this Saturday morning for this series of races. Registration costs $105 for the half-marathon, $50 for the 10k, or $45 for the 5k.

Angels 5k & Fun Run
6:00 am – 9:00 am, April 9
Angel Stadium, Anaheim

Take part in a 5k and/or fun run at Angel Stadium this Saturday morning. Registration costs $45 for the 5k or $30 for the fun run.

42nd Annual Run Seal Beach 5k/10k
7:00 am – 10:00 am, April 9
Marina Community Park, Seal Beach

A 5k/10k run will cover the streets of Seal Beach this Saturday morning. Registration costs $40 and includes an event t-shirt (XXL size costs $3 more). Plan your commute accordingly.

ArtFest 2016
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 9-10
San Diego Botanic Garden, Encinitas

Enjoy hundreds of art displays, cars, and live music this weekend at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. Admission costs $14, with discounts available for seniors, military, students, and children.

SoCal Corgi Beach Day
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, April 9
Huntington Dog Beach, Huntington Beach

Corgi lovers and Corgi owners unite this Saturday afternoon for a dog day at the beach, free to attend and for all ages. Share your love of this wonderful breed by showing off your adorable companion or by showing love for someone else’s adorable companion.

21st Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 9-10
University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Immerse yourself in a world of literature this weekend on the USC campus, completely free to attend. In addition to finding thousands of books here, visitors can expect live bands, poetry readings, chef demos, cultural entertainment, artists creating their work on-site, a photography exhibit, film screenings, discussion panels on some of today’s hottest topics, and so much more. Parking on campus costs $10, while the indoor seminars cost between $10 to $15 to attend.

5th Annual Healthy Living Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 9-10
Del Mar Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, Del Mar

Check out this health & wellness expo this weekend, FREE to attend for all ages! Guests can experience cooking demos, medical testing, belly dancers, fitness workshops, food & drink samples, massages, speakers, fitness tests, yoga classes, speakers, and more.

2016 Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire: Opening Day
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, April 9
Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, Irwindale

This renaissance faire will run from this Saturday through May 22nd this year. Admission costs $29 for adults or $15 for children.

San Diego BBQ Fest 2016
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 9
SILO in Makers Quarter, San Diego

Enjoy an afternoon of food and craft beer in San Diego this Saturday. Admission comes in three tiers ($25, $40, and $75), and each provides a different amount of perks, from unlimited food and beer to just admission only. If you get any of the two lower admissions, bring cash to pay for food.

5th Annual Rhythm & Brews Music & Craft Beer Festival
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, April 9
Historic Downtown Vista Village, Vista

The San Diego Brewers Guild presents the Rhythm & Brews Music & Craft Beer Festival this Saturday afternoon in the historic Vista Village district. Now in its fifth year, this festival now contains over 50 breweries, nine music acts across three stages, and plenty of food for sale from local businesses. General admission costs $45 presale or $50 at the door, starts at 1pm, and comes with a souvenir glass good for unlimited beer tastings. VIP admission costs $55 presale only, and starts an hour earlier at 12pm. No one under 21 may attend.

KROQ Craft Beer Festival
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, April 9
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia

Party with hundreds of other people this Saturday afternoon at the Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia. The $5 admission gets you access to food trucks, lawn games, live music, horse racing, and the beer garden. Bring plenty of cash to pay for food and beer. Upgrade to the $30 VIP admission for backstage access, two drink scrips, a souvenir hat, and more.

8th Annual Los Angeles Beer Fest
12:00 pm – 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, April 9
LA Center Studios, Los Angeles

Everyone’s favorite drunk fest returns to Los Angeles this Saturday. This festival allows attendees to drink unlimited beers while enjoying live music from local bands. Food trucks will sell their delicious foods to hungry guests. Tickets cost $40, but does not include parking.

Balboa Craft Beer Festival 2016
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, April 9
Balboa Village, Newport Beach

Enjoy beach weather and craft beer this Saturday afternoon near Balboa Island. General admission costs $55, and includes unlimited beer AND food. No one under 21 may attend.

Innovation Brew Works One Year Anniversary Celebration
1:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 9
Innovation Brew Works, Pomona

This young Pomona microbrewery turns a year old this week, and to celebrate, they will have an anniversary party at their tasting room this Saturday. Admission ranges from $10 to $30, and each type of admission will provide varying levels of beer and other goodies. Check their website linked above for a full breakdown of what each level of admission gets.

5th Annual Anaheim Citrusfest
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 9
Farmers Park, Anaheim

Check out this FREE and all-ages event in Anaheim this Saturday afternoon, filled with lots of family-friendly activities.

Bane: Live in Southern California
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 9, Union Nightclub, Los Angeles
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 10, The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana

Hardcore band Bane currently tours across the nation, and that tour will swing through Southern California this weekend. Ticket prices to these shows vary, so click on a show’s link for pricing details.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) @ The Frida Cinema
8:30 pm – 11:30 pm, April 9
The Frida Cinema, Santa Ana

Come watch the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie this Saturday night in Santa Ana. Attendees will also get treated to pizza, trivia, prizesm giveaways, photo opportunities with the characters, and more. Admission costs $17, or add $1 more to receive a Foot Clan headband.

Mad Parade @ Cafe NELA
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, April 9
Cafe NELA, Los Angeles

Rock out to some local punk rock bands this Saturday night in northeast Los Angeles. The cover for this show costs $7. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking around.

Bubble Run Irvine
8:00 am – 12:00 pm, April 10
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine

Tired of the same 5k run everywhere? If you have had your fill of color runs and glow runs, try your hand at the Bubble Run. Participants wear all white and run through colored foam bogs in this 5k race. Registration costs $50, and all levels of runners may participate. Space will fill up fast, so register early, and try to carpool to this event.

10th Annual Cambodian New Year Parade
9:00 am – 12:00 pm, April 10
Anaheim St, Long Beach

Catch a free public parade this Sunday morning in Cambodia Town in Long Beach that celebrates the Cambodian New Year. Arrive early to find adequate parking.

6th Annual Session Fest
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, April 10
Eagle Rock Brewery, Eagle Rock

On the opposite side of strong ales lie session beers – beers lower in alcohol content while maximizing flavor. Brewers created session ales so that craft beer lovers can drink more in a session without going overboard, especially with strong ales or hoppy beers. Eagle Rock Brewery started Session Fest to encourage new craft beer drinkers to enjoy what breweries can offer, and they will repeat the fest again this Sunday. For just $15, guests will receive three pints of any session beer featured at the tasting room, in addition to keeping the glass they receive to drink out of. Guests may purchase additional drink tickets if desired. No one under 21 may participate.

Peelander-Z @ Alex’s Bar
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 10
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Enjoy a night of punk and ska this Sunday at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach. The cover for this show costs $8. No one under 21 may enter.