Posts Tagged ‘Beer Fest’

The 5th annual Orange County Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival will descend upon us at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim this Saturday afternoon. From the organizers behind this year’s biggest beer festival in Orange County, this holiday iteration of a popular event combines a beer fest with holiday shopping, as they also include a brewery merchandise expo within the venue area. Almost every brewery present will bring merchandise to sell, from clothing to beer glasses to accessories and more. A single admission of $55 per person allows all guests to sample unlimited beer pours from the 80+ breweries available, most of which will serve rare brews. To keep guests occupied between drinks, the venue provides a multitude of games, such as foosball, glorified Jenga, airsoft gun shooting, and more. In addition, guests will discover plenty of local vendors all with great holiday gifts.

OC Brew Ho Ho receives its unique spin from its various features that set them apart from other typical beer fests. First off, all guests pay one flat admission price and receive unlimited beer pours for the duration of the festival. The main highlight comes from the merchandise expo, where almost every brewery brings merchandise to sell, such as clothes, beer accessories, and other such souvenirs or trinkets. For the beer lover in their lives, attending this festival allows many guests to kill two birds with one stone by enjoying a day of drinking while getting some shopping done.

Since this beer fest has no limit to the amount of beer that any guest could drink during the allotted time, you may find yourself drinking far more beer than expected. Make sure you pace yourself and plan on what beers you want to taste – click here for a list of participating breweries.

The gates to the 5th Annual Orange County Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival open this Saturday morning at 12pm for all ticket holders. Tickets cost $55 plus an online transaction fee, which you can bypass by buying a ticket at the door, if any remain by then. Admission includes a souvenir cup and unlimited beer tasters, plus access to the brewery merchandise expo. The beers will pour starting at 12pm and stop promptly at 4pm, but the merchandise booths will remain selling until 5pm. Guests can park for free at the venue’s self-parking lot, though guests may choose the valet side if desired. Expect to see over 80 different breweries represented here, and each of them should have merchandise for sale, which does not include beer to-go. Read up on some tips to ensure a smooth and pleasant experience at this year’s Brew Ho Ho:

  • REMEMBER to bring PHOTO ID! Amazingly, many guests think they can enter without showing it to the front security.
  • Absolutely nobody under 21 may enter the festival. Do not even think about bringing your kids or pets.
  • Basic toll-free directions: Get to the 57 freeway, exit Ball Road going east, turn right at the first road (S Phoenix Club Dr), then turn right at the second road (S Sanderson Ave). The parking lot will appear on your left after the actual Phoenix Club building.
  • Guests may park for free. Although anyone may ride a bike or walk to the venue, I suggest getting dropped off instead. Intoxicated guests may leave their cars at the venue if they find another means of getting home, and they will have until 9am the following day to reclaim their cars.
  • Food comes at a separate cost, so anyone wanting to eat should arrive with extra cash. Click here for a list of attending restaurants and food trucks.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the festival. All attendees receive FREE water on the premises.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather. Mother nature does unpredictable things, and while the forecast predicts sunny skies, no one will laugh when it starts to rain.
  • For prolonged drinking, start with lighter beers and work your way to stronger beers.
  • Try to hold on to your beer glass – guests receive no free replacement for lost or broken glasses. Extra glasses, if any remain, will cost $5.
  • All beers stop pouring at 4pm. An extra grace hour will allow guests time to sober up, find food, and/or shop at the vendors before leaving.

On a weekend with multiple craft beer festivals taking place at the same time, I chose to attend the one least known to the public: Salute Beer Fest. This beer festival took place at The Phoenix Club in Anaheim on Saturday afternoon immediately following Veteran’s Day, where it combined breweries with military-themed vendors and exhibits. VIP admission started at 11:30 am while general admission started at 1pm, and the festival ended at 4:30 pm. Based on what I saw on Salute Beer Fest’s website, this event has taken place across the country in the past; however, it has no links or sources to show for previous festivals. Sadly, this started to show itself as its true form as the event progressed.

An exorbitant amount of issues at this event caused it to leave a sour taste in many people’s mouths. Primarily, the organizers totally botched the entrance procedure. They advertised that VIP admission would start at 11:30 am; however, the staff did not appear ready by then. In fact, volunteers started to unwrap cups and place them out after 11:30 am. The staff did not pre-check any of the attendees waiting in line to enter – they started checking ID’s after the start time. If they wanted to operate more efficiently, they could have checked people in, given them their wristbands and cups, and had them wait to the side to all enter at 11:30 (they had a huge open area to the left where a second line could have waited to enter). the staff also did not delegate the lines properly – they first pulled will-call attendees out for a second line that included the Groupon attendees. After waiting in that line for ten minutes, they said that Groupon needed to get back in the other line that already stretched out to the street. As a result, I ended up standing in line in the hot sun for an hour. Want to know what else they did that totally ruined this experience? Once you get to the front of the line to scan your ticket, the staff charged you a transaction fee before you could enter! They said I needed to pay a $3.75 transaction fee because they did not charge it when they sold tickets online. This outright LIE stacks on top of the Eventbrite fees, meaning that this transaction fee went to an unknown location since whoever bought tickets online already paid an online transaction fee. Most of the attendees frustratingly paid this transaction fee since they had already waited an hour in line, so the frustration of waiting simply caused them to cave up and pay the fee.

After you deal with the fiasco of the entrance, you enter the beer festival area only to discover 17 breweries, some of which appear to have gotten thrown in the last minute. Salute Beer Fest had plenty of mobile food vendors to feed everyone, and enough other vendors to keep people occupied, including a whisky vendor. However, people paid for a beer festival, not to visit food trucks or check out vendors. General admission appears to have gotten in fine, as I did not witness any lines at 1pm.

  1. All-American Ale Works
  2. Legacy Brewing
  3. Knee Deep Brewing
  4. Golden Coast Mead
  5. Angel City Brewery
  6. Hangar 24 Brewery
  7. Evans Brewing
  8. Ballast Point
  9. Big Sky Brewing (no jockey box)
  10. Cerveza Imperial (no jockey box)
  11. Pyramid Brewing
  12. Magic Hat Brewing
  13. Sierra Nevada (no jockey box)
  14. Bootlegger’s Brewery
  15. Lagunitas Brewing
  16. Karl Strauss
  17. Hess Brewing

Despite my photos making the fest look fine, this event frustrated many so much that they left early, including myself. I had already tasted a beer from every participating brewery within my first hour inside the venue. As far as Orange County beer festivals go, the major ones have over 50 breweries participating, giving people true value for the price they pay. If Salute Beer Fest comes back, save yourself some trouble and do not spend any money on it.

The concept of a flagship product can make or break a business. When a business or company wants to go big, they want the people to generally recognize a specific product. Specialization in a certain product leads to the development of a signature item or a flagship product. Sometimes, a company will make ONLY that item and make it well. Other times, a company will make a variety of products, yet the public will generally recognize only one. For example, a few years ago, I once overheard a stranger ordering a beer called Orange 24. Any Southern Californian craft beer enthusiast will immediately recognize that specific beer. Elsewhere, other breweries carry flagship beers too, such as San Diego’s Belching Beaver.

As one of San Diego’s larger breweries, Belching Beaver has crafted quite a name for themselves ever since their grand opening four years ago. They possess a massive lineup of different beers, and have since expanded to at least four locations. Despite all this, people perhaps recognize Belching Beaver most for their Peanut Butter Milk Stout. Most breweries have a beer that the people know the brewery for, and Belching Beaver has just that with the flavorful sweet stout. Belching Beaver delivered that beer and many more at their 4th Anniversary Party this past Saturday at their Oceanside production facility. Those who attended received two 8oz beer pours, two 8oz specialty pours, one raffle ticket, and a 16oz “Das Boot” anniversary glass. Along with all the strong beers they served up, Belching Beaver had a few food vendors too, including a dessert vendor that used the beers in the desserts.

In addition to this Oceanside production facility, Belching Beaver has their first production facility in Vista, a tasting room in North Park, and a restaurant in Vista. See what else Belching Beaver has in store by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

Craft beer reigns supreme in Southern California, but some areas see a different spread of the distribution of craft beer than others. For example, Anaheim has lots of breweries so close to each other, but not much in the way of gastropubs or festivals. Conversely, Long Beach boasts lots of craft beer-friendly establishments and beer festivals, but houses very few breweries compared to surrounding cities. In fact, another beer festival came to Long Beach this past weekend, as Cal State Long Beach hosted their 1st Annual Long Beach Craft Beer Festival. Benefiting the CSULB Hospitality Department, this craft beer celebration covered two days of award-winning beers from across the nation. While the weekend started with a beer-pairing dinner and a brewers reception, the major festival took place Saturday afternoon at the campus’ Jack Rose track & field stadium. The festival featured over 50 different breweries, over 100 different beers, mobile food vendors, live entertainment, and more. Distinctly, the organizers brought out many breweries not typically seen at a beer festival in Southern California, including out-of-state or international breweries.

On a weekend fraught with dozens of beer events, it takes some mighty fine marketing and planning to stand out from the crowd. The Great American Beer Festival had just taken place the weekend prior, so as a result, very few beer events took place that weekend, pushing most beer festivals forward a week. So while many other beer festival occurred at the same time as the Long Beach one, the Long Beach event takes the crown for the weekend. No other beer festival can contain such a variety of breweries, especially breweries that rarely, if not ever, make an appearance in Southern California. Due to the wide, spacious venue, they can contain so many more booths if they choose to do so in a future iteration of this event. Despite appearing like a generic beer tasting festival, the organizers stayed true to the local microbrewery scene, opting not to highlight the macro breweries so much; in fact, the “sold out” breweries had their own spot in a far corner of the venue. Some of the microbreweries even dared to launch timed releases – at some of the larger beer festivals, the more popular breweries will release a rare beer at a certain time within the festival instead of making it available from the start, giving attendees a chance to line up to taste it instead of making it “first come, first served.” We rarely see something like this at a generic beer tasting event, so for some of the breweries to do this at this festival means something significant.

While anyone can certainly expect beginners’ mistakes on a first event, the Long Beach crew minimized problems, which makes this beer fest stand out as a true winner relative to the Southern California craft beer industry. Did I witness anything issues or areas that they can improve upon? Nobody can run an event for the first time without problems, but of those that I encountered, nothing bugged me too much. They had plenty of space to work with, and definitely could have filled up the venue – instead, a huge open area existed toward the back of the area. Perhaps they could have invited a lot more food vendors? The venue lacked cool, shaded areas, unless attendees remained on the west side of the venue due to the trees there. It also would have greatly helped if they made complimentary water more readily available. I did discover some iced buckets of water bottles, but I had to actively search for them. Finally, the method to enter greatly confused me – attendees had to check in at the box office at The Pyramid, receive their wristband and cup there, and then finally walk to the track to enter the event area. I had approached from the track’s side, so did not know that I still needed to walk over to the box office to pick up my objects.

Overall, the Long Beach Craft Beer Festival did the local craft beer scene justice. The CSULB campus has done a great job in recent years to introduce craft beer and craft wine to the student body, something that I could not enjoy while attending CSULB (ABC revoked the license while I attended classes here due to rowdy students one night). Although they do not have a brewing curriculum like another Southern Californian campus does, CSULB has taken a step in the right direction to boost the microbrewery scene to empower local brewers against the large corporations that would dare snuff out the little guys. Check out what else CSULB has in store for their students by liking the Facebook pages of The Nugget (the campus’ pub) and the bookstore.

This upcoming weekend, food news & media giant Foodbeast will team up with Orange County event planners 100eats to bring back one of their largest events for its second year running, Ooze Festival, to the parking lot in front of the Yost Theater in Downtown Santa Ana. Hailed as Southern California’s premier cheese festival, this tasting event brings out dozens of Orange County restaurants to serve up their best cheese-inspired food samples to the hundreds of attendees. In addition, a handful of Southern California’s microbreweries set up to serve some refreshing brews to pair with all the food going around.

New this year, Ooze Fest will cater to two entirely different types of admissions. The first admission method involves pay-as-you-go. The event will take place on both this Saturday and Sunday opening at 12pm and closing at 10pm. Ooze Fest will run continuously during that time, and cost $10 to enter. Once inside, attendees will then have to pay for any food they wish to consume. This works best for those who do not plan to eat as much, or want to selectively choose what to eat or drink. The second admission method involves a traditional food fest operation. This will run from 5pm to 9pm each evening, and for $50, any attendee will receive unlimited food samples for this duration. Due to the nature of how the organizers set this up, I do not expect any vendor to run out of food, although I cannot guarantee that, so I still suggest arriving as early as possible.

Due to the tendency for food festivals like this to turn into a line fest, I would take caution with the $50 food fest experience. This works best with a small group, as each group member can stand in different lines and then bring food back to the group, cutting the wait time down considerably. Alternatively, for the frugal, look up the list of vendors on their website (linked above), and simply visit those establishments on your own free time. Doing so basically eliminates the $10 entry fee and allows you to not have to deal with lines and potentially overpriced food samples.

For more posts from the organizers, check out Foodbeast on Facebook and Twitter, and 100eats on Facebook and Twitter.

Craft beer reigns supreme in Southern California, but some areas see a different spread of the distribution of craft beer than others. For example, Anaheim has lots of breweries so close to each other, but not much in the way of gastropubs or festivals. Conversely, Long Beach boasts lots of craft beer-friendly establishments and beer festivals, but houses very few breweries compared to surrounding cities. In fact, another beer festival comes to Long Beach this weekend, as Cal State Long Beach hosts their 1st Annual Long Beach Craft Beer Festival. Benefiting the CSULB Hospitality Department, this craft beer celebration covers two days of award-winning beers from across the nation.

On Friday night, two events will occur on campus. A beer pairing dinner will take place in the Chartroom in the university student union hosted by the one-and-only Dr. Bill Sysak himself. This will include eight different pairings, and costs $150 per person or $1,500 per table of ten. Also on this night, a brewers’ reception will take place at The Nugget at the university’s dining hall, open to the industry only. However, those who attend the beer pairing dinner will not only get to attend the brewers’ reception, but also receive VIP admission to the beer festival the following afternoon.

This Saturday afternoon, the beer festival will take place on the grass field inside the Jack Rose track & field stadium. This festival features over 50 different breweries, over 100 different beers, many food trucks, live entertainment, and more. General admission costs $49 and starts at 2pm, while VIP admission costs $64 and starts at 1pm. All tickets come with a $5 coupon for Legends Sports Bar. All attendees receive unlimited beer samples while supplies last, and all beers cease pouring at 5pm. No one under 21 may attend.

  • REMEMBER to bring PHOTO ID! Amazingly, many guests think they can enter without showing it to the front security.
  • Park on the north side of campus coming in from Atherton. Guests will park in the parking structure adjacent to the track, and then walk to the track from there.
  • Bring $7 cash for parking. Alternatively, guests may consider riding a bike here, as the campus provides plenty of free bicycle parking racks.
  • Food come at a separate cost, so anyone wanting to eat should arrive with extra cash. Click here for a list of attending restaurants and food trucks.
  • The venue provides minimal shade, so consider applying sunscreen prior to your arrival, and have extra sunscreen available. Security will not confiscate sunscreen from you.
  • Stay hydrated prior to and throughout the festival.
  • Dress appropriately for hot weather. Southern California has seen a heat wave recently, and the combination of heat and alcohol will quickly lead to dehydration.
  • For prolonged drinking, start with lighter beers and work your way to stronger beers. Click here for a list of attending breweries.
  • Try to hold on to your beer glass – guests receive no replacement for lost or broken glasses.
  • All beers stop pouring at 5pm. Please do not badger anyone pouring beers for extra, as they must adhere to the ABC laws.
  • Please leave the venue responsibly. Consider hailing for a taxi, Uber, or Lyft out of the venue. Sponsored by the venue, use the RideYellow app with promo code GOBEACH for $15 off your first ride, and 25% off all future rides in Long Beach.

When one claims the best of anything, people quickly speculate that claim as hogwash. For example, if a product claims to work ten times better than the leading brand, then why does that product not lead the market? Do the testimonials prove anything else, or do the testimonials get bought? The 7th Annual Orange County Brew Ha Ha returned to Oak Canyon Park in Silverado this past Saturday, living up to its proclamation as “Southern California’s BEST Beer Festival!” Featuring over 90 breweries, a dozen food vendors, FREE sodas, live music, games, and more, I assure you that no other beer fest in the history of Orange County lives up to the proportions of the crew behind the Brew Ha Ha series of events.

The massive venue area contributes the most to the success of the OC Brew Ha Ha. Despite the incredulously long VIP line, guests began entering five minutes prior to the fest’s start time. Fortunately, all volunteers and brewery staff knew not to pour until the time began. Upon entering, one can quickly feel overwhelmed trying to figure out where to find what. Oak Canyon Park has much to explore, and OC Brew Ha Ha did not even use the entire park area! (due to grass renovations, one entire side of the park did not get used)

With a vast venue, plenty of vendors, a variety of beer & food, entertainment, and more, time flies by for any guest at OC Brew Ha Ha. The average consumer cannot possibly experience everything within the allotted four hours. Like a typical weekend vacation, guests would require more than a few days to experience it all. Luckily, the Brew Ha Ha team organizes multiple events throughout the year, including some events that do not fall under the same naming convention, such as Ye Scallywag, Cali Uncorked, and the newly announced Driftwood Festival (tickets NOW available – use promo code BEER). In addition, the team will bring back their signature beer fest in December under the moniker OC Brew Ho Ho, so if you need your beer fix, keep this in mind when December rolls around. No other beer fest in Orange County can top OC Brew Ha Ha, because it triumphs over all.