Posts Tagged ‘Taste of Brews’

When a person or group of people go into business, their first objective in mind consists of raking in lots of profit. Depending on the industry entered, the entrepreneurs can utilize any of various methods to reach the point of making profit. Once that point occurs, the path of owning a business splits off into different routes. Where do the entrepreneurs go now that they have an avenue of revenue? Do they stay with one business and improve its quality? Do they sell the business off? Do they franchise the business? Do they grow and expand? Each path represents different levels of profit, and each comes with its respective costs and outcomes. In today’s society, reputation holds more value than monetary worth because the public can easily see the perceived reputation, not how much money the business holds. Generate a great product and/or service, and the people will talk. When people talk, more people hear about the business, leading to profit the humane way. However, disregarding quality in exchange for efforts to expand can lead to dissatisfactory customers despite the profit. Can a business owner truly afford to pour out something bad just to see more dollar signs? If you can afford the marketing, any business can sell a bad product – look at many commercials nowadays that sell products generally bad for you. In the virtual world, look at how much Taste of Brews marketed their event, then look deeper at how much money they aim to extract out of citizens that drink the Kool Aid.

The Taste of Brews beer festival returned to White Park in Riverside for the second year at this location. Attendees to this beer fest paid a flat fee to enter and consume all the beer they can drink. Whereas some beer fests limit the beers that the attendees may consume, this one allowed unlimited pours until the attending breweries ran out of beer or the event ended at 4pm. During the festival, some local tribute bands played on the small stage in the center of the park. Some of the vendor booths contained restaurants or caterers sampling food, but these lines stretched out far, and the vendors swiftly ran out of food each time they attempted to restock. In fact, the Bacon Mania truck ran out of bacon by 2:30. Other food trucks present did not run out of food, but had a persistent line the entire time. Despite the staff not allowing pets or anyone under 21 into the venue, someone brought dogs. At first this all seems fine, but what did the above photo indicate to you? I snapped that photo at 12pm, when the gates should have already opened. What does this mean to you? Glance at some of my photos, then read below to find out.

Despite what appears as a typical beer fest, the organizers clearly sought to maximize their money gain from this event. For a group that has thrown beer fests in the past, how did they end up with a line longer than the perimeter of the park when all attendees in that line should already have gone inside? The early bird entry should require a limit, as this gives privileges to anyone who purchased a ticket to this event way in advanced, like how I purchased a ticket to this event back in February. Seeing more people enter at 12pm than the general admission time at 1pm makes all early bird ticket purchasers not feel special enough to merit entering sooner. With this many people already inside the fest so early, all lines to receive beer filled up immensely fast. The number of attendees vastly outnumbered the capacity that all the vendors can serve in a timely manner. Also consider that security promptly started kicking people out right at 4pm, not even giving attendees a chance to stick around and wait off the alcohol in their bodies.

Event organizers need to understand the perfect ratio of people to vendors when setting limits to events. For example, a food truck fest operates best with 200 people per food truck, as this satisfies both sides. A higher ratio will irritate the people, while a lower ratio will irritate the vendors. At a beer fest, organizers need to discover the ratio of people to breweries in attendance to please both sides. Generally, a lower ratio allows for a smaller, more intimate event, where attendees can socialize with the vendors easier than at a large event. A beer fest can manage with a smaller ratio since attendees do not pay for the beers anyways. For example, an upcoming beer fest has a limit of 300 tickets, while boasting an already impressive roster of 12 breweries (as of yesterday) and growing. This eliminates the crowding while allowing guests to roam freely around and actually chat with the vendors while learning about the brewery/company. Taste of Brews does not recognize this, and continually sells tickets with no regard to any limit. Any beer fest that dares invite Anheuser Busch to pour Shock Top does not deserve to call themselves a beer fest. As this took place in Riverside, Taste of Brews should change their name to Taste of Bros – the Bro Fest. After all, the Nine Bro Nine had to get that name from somewhere, right?

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Lumière Noir: A Higher Frequency
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, May 22
Proof Bar, Santa Ana
http://noirart.org/lumiere-noir/

This collaborative art project involves various models to create living art in ultraviolet light, or blacklight. Free to attend with RSVP, attendees will see art, photography, videos, live nude body-painting, and more. As this takes place at a bar, attendees may purchase drinks at their leisure, but no one under 21 may enter.

The Damned with 45 Grave @ House of Blues Anaheim
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, May 23
House of Blues, Anaheim
http://www.houseofblues.com/tickets/eventdetail.php?eventid=78850

Legendary punk band The Damned headline a show this Thursday night in Orange County with 45 Grave. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $27.50 presale and $30 at the door. Admission comes with five hours of free parking.

The Business, Funeral Dress, The Howlers, The Warlords, Informal Society @ Characters Sports Bar
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 23
Characters Sports Bar, Pomona
http://www.facebook.com/events/158830870950368/

Come to this Punk Rock Bowling Kick Off Party and watch legendary punk rock band The Business play a show with Funeral Dress and more for just a $15 cover. Guests can park for free on the street, or pay for parking in the parking lot. No one under 21 may attend.

55th Annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival
1:00 pm – 10:00 pm, May 24
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, May 25-26
10:00 am – 9:00 pm, May 26
Village Green, Garden Grove
http://strawberryfestival.org/

This free annual all-ages city fair features rides, games, vendors, food, contests, live entertainment, a parade, and more. Despite its name, the festival does not liberally give out strawberries or sell it – it just uses strawberries as its theme. Guests may go on rides with all-day wristbands, which cost $30 each, or just $25 on Friday.

HempCon Los Angeles
3:00 pm – 9:00 pm, May 24
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, May 25
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, May 26
Los Angeles Convention Center, Downtown Los Angeles
http://hempcon.com/hempcon-2011-dates-and-information/l-a-may-24-26-2013/

Douse yourself in medicinal marijuana culture all weekend at this convention. Tickets cost $20 presale, and grant entry to the entire show floor, where guests can attend seminars, purchase merchandise, take pictures with models, check out the live music, and more. Parking at the convention center costs $15, while nearby parking lots range from $3 to $10. No one under 18 may attend.

Electric Run – Los Angeles
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, May 24
Home Depot Center, Carson
http://electricrun.com/

When you combine a 5k with a rave, you get the Electric Run. Go on a 5k fun run through Home Depot Center, running through bright lights and dance music the entire way. Participants should wear the brightest & lightest clothes to this run as to maximize the glow color & lighting. Participants should also bring their own glow items from home, as vendors will likely sell out fast during the night. Registration costs $55 and comes with a t-shirt, glow bracelet, glow necklace, and glow sunglasses (stunner shades). The race finishes at the stage, where live DJ’s will spin music all night for all participants to stay and party to.

Children Today’s Annual 5k/10k Run/Walk
6:30m – 11:00 am, May 25
Marina Green Park, Long Beach
http://www.runchildrentoday.com/

Run a 5k or 10k for charity this Saturday morning in Long Beach, as the path takes runners along the bike path on the beach. All runners receive a t-shirt and goodie bad with their admission, which costs $35 presale or $40 at the event. All nearby parking lots charge for parking, but you can park in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Ave for free.

Bubble Run Los Angeles
8:00 am – 12:00 pm, May 25
Aldrich Park, UC Irvine
http://www.bubblerun.com/events/los-angeles/

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 around the UCI campus. 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.

Taste of Brews Riverside
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, May 25
White Park, Riverside
http://www.tasteofbrews.com/

Kick off an early start to summer at the annual Taste of Brews returning to Riverside this Saturday afternoon. At this beer fest, guests will enjoy unlimited beer pours of their favorite local craft beers while enjoying the lush greenery of the park and the live music playing all day. The organizers provide free bottled water and snacks from local vendors/restaurants, but these run out fast, so grab them early while you can. General admission costs $35 and starts at 1pm, while early-bird admission costs $45 and starts at 12pm. Guests may park for free in the parking structure directly across the street from the entrance to the park. No one under 21 may enter.

Subhumans, Total Chaos, + more
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, May 25-26
May 25: The Vex, Los Angeles http://holdmyticket.com/event/133968
May 26: The Observatory, Santa Ana http://www.observatoryoc.com/events/subhumans

Rock out to classic punk rock this weekend in both Los Angeles and Orange County. Tickets to both of these all-ages shows cost $15.

2013 Vista Village Strawberry Festival
7:00 am – 7:00 pm, May 26
Historic Downtown Vista
http://vistastrawberryfest.com/

At this free festival, guests of all-ages can experience a plethora of activities all day in Vista, formerly the Strawberry Capital of the World. The day starts with a 5K run, and when the run ends, the main festival begins. The multitude of activities include a beer garden, pie-eating contests, cooking contest, golf/putting contest, homebrew contest, video contest, strawberry costume contest, demos, live entertainment, car show, rides, games, food, and so much more. Visit the website for a full schedule and list of activities, plus directions on where to park.

Spring 2013 Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival – Santa Ana
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, May 26
Sycamore & 2nd, Downtown Santa Ana
http://patchworkshow.com/craft-fair-locations/santa-ana-events/

This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fests at multiple locations. As with any typical arts & crafts fair, Patchwork will feature many traditional forms of art and merchandise, but also mixes in alternative art – thinking outside the box, or Rebel Art. Featuring clothing, accessories, home goods, jewelry, pet items, and more, this FREE fest caters to a wide & diverse crowd. Food trucks will serve guests during the fest. Always remember to carry cash, since most vendors only accept cash. Visitors may park in the nearby parking structure for free.

Another year comes to a close, and with that comes all the year-end reviews. 2012 marked a terrific year for breakout businesses in many industries. Capitalism favors entrepreneurism, and America holds some of the lowest barriers to entry in the world. These entrepreneurs require intense marketing and PR to get their names out to the public in a positive light. When self-marketing yields less than auspicious results, they turn to external parties to generate buzz about the business. Many of these third parties include the social media market, others in the business, and event planners.

In the craft beer industry, event planners hold beer festivals to generate buzz about many different types of beers to the guests that attend. At a beer fest, guests typically pay an entry fee and enter an area where guests can freely roam and drink, usually in some public area where people cannot drink on normal days. Some beer fests require drink tickets to receive beers, while others provide all-you-can-drink beer. Attendees often find amazing beers that they have never heard of or ever imagined drinking, and the breweries sometimes bring their rare brews in order to sample to select guests. California caters well to the craft beer industry, and as such host many beer fests throughout the year. I attend beer fests regularly, and I have decided on the five best beer fests in Southern California for 2012. Anyone wanting to get into craft beers ought to attend one of these beer fests in the upcoming year, as those not only provide a terrific learning curve, but host some of the most successful breweries in the United States.

5. San Diego Brew Fest

From the organizers behind other large beer fests like OC Beer Fest and Septemberfest, the San Diego Brew Fest hosted nearly every San Diego brewery open at the time. Taking place at a large grassy park in Liberty Station, this beer fest made every step imaginable to provide the cleanest and most enjoyable experience for the guests. First off, no guest had to pay for parking, as nearby businesses simply allowed the guests to park there. Second, the fest took place on mostly grass, which means fewer broken glasses, and easy places to dump unwanted beer. Third, the massive space could easily accommodate for much more than the amount of tickets sold. Fourth, the organizers invited more than enough food trucks to feed the drinking guests. Fifth, guests received unlimited beer pours during the fest. Last but not least, guests could find every main category of beer here. I would not expect less from event planners that regularly hold beer fests throughout the year, so if you have the opportunity, attend one of their beer fests near you in the upcoming year.

4. Taste of Brews – Long Beach

Started in 2011, Taste of Brews – Long Beach showed no signs of amateurism as they hosted their second annual installment of their beer fest. Taste of Brews followed the principle of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – they rolled with almost the exact same setup as last year. The few changes included the switch to providing drink tickets for beer, food trucks to feed guests, the removal of the VIP area, and the removal of live bands. Very few beer fests take place right at the ocean, and while Lighthouse Park has no actual beach, guests could sit on the edge of the fest area and gaze out to the ocean. The location and time of year makes for the most pleasant experience for guests, as the weather feels neither hot nor cold, but just right because of the proximity to the ocean. With each Taste of Brews, the organizers learn from potential problems, and continue to improve their successful series of beer fests. 2012 saw three installments of Taste of Brews – I hope they decide to host more next year!

3. Stone Brewery 16th Anniversary Celebration

When a single brewery hosts a beer fests that trumps almost all other beer fests in the area in terms of sheer size, you know this brewery reigns as a strong industry mover & shaker. Stone Brewery’s 16th Anniversary Celebration proves why anyone in the craft beer industry wants to reckon with them. This annual craft beer celebration takes place on the gorgeous campus of Cal State San Marcos, and spans more than 50% of the campus. Sadly, the handicapped may feel intimidated with navigating all areas of this fest, as it covers multiple floors of the campus, not to mention the treacherous trek from the parking lot to the fest entrance. Once you get past all the stair-climbing, Stone Brewery rewards guests with a massive adult amusement park filled with beer, food, beer, cake, beer, ice cream, and more beer. Stone sampled beer cheese, beer onion rings, beer barbeque sauce, beer cupcakes, beer ice cream, and numerous more foods with beer in it. For those unable to drink, Stone provided unlimited craft sodas of varying flavors. Anyone craving the full experience should purchase the VIP package that allows guests to not only enter both sessions of the celebration, but also to attend the special industry seminar that takes place the night prior. Do not miss out on this grandiose celebration next year!

2. Los Angeles Oktoberfest

When asked about Oktoberfest, Southern California residents will most likely respond with Old World Huntington Beach or Alpine Village Torrance. I call these the poor man’s Oktoberfest, since those cost the least and feature the least. But hey, you get what you pay for. I opt to seek out the more upscale Oktoberfests, which led me to discover Los Angeles Oktoberfest. Lasting only two days this year, LA Oktoberfest put all other Oktoberfests to shame. Despite lasting only four hours each day, guests enjoyed those four hours much more than they would at any lesser Oktoberfest. Featuring tons of authentic German and Austrian beers, LA Oktoberfest delighted and entertained crowds with more than just a live band. The lovely ladies in their lederhosen teased many a guest, while some even delivered a free dance show. Lots of delicious food kept guests full, including the legendary Pink’s Hot Dogs, while guests could enjoy hand-rolled Cuban cigars outside in the patio. Besides the beer, vendors served up wine, wine coolers, spirits, coconut water, and other goodies, providing variety in a setting that guests would not expect to find. The organizers host similar events throughout the year, so stay tuned to this blog to find out when the next similar event arrives.

1. Orange County Brew Ha Ha & Brew Ho Ho

How pretentious can someone or something act when they claim to hold the title as the best of anything? Sadly when anyone asserts such a claim, they usually can get away with it without any backing or testimonials. When the folks at Orange County Brew Ha Ha claim their title as Southern California’s best beer festival, I assure you that they can walk the walk. A smart person once had a dream of hosting the most successful beer fest ever. Today, that dream has flourished into a dazzling reality. With over 40 breweries, plenty of food, free fountain drinks, games, live entertainment, merchandise, and more all within a massive space, OC Brew Ha Ha proved to the competition not to mess with them. Their popularity soared so much that they decided to host an additional beer fest in December called Orange County Brew Ho Ho, a mini holiday version of OC Brew Ha Ha. The organizers actually set a ticket limit on all their beer fests. By limiting the amount of guests, the venue can focus on greater service, thus pleasing both the vendors and the guests, and allowing guests ample parking spots instead of running out of parking. Surprisingly, they even managed to allow guests to park for free! Have I mentioned that guests receive unlimited beer pours at these beer fests? Who says that corporations carry the best product? One man devised this idea, which has blossomed into a full force still manned by a small group of people. Beer fest organizers take note – you can learn a lot from OC Brew Ha Ha, but no one will usurp them as the best beer fest.

St. Pius V Fall Festival

The St. Pius V Fall Festival mainly caters towards kids and families. As a result, I have seen this all before – carnival rides, games, food, etc. Think of this as a localized state fair, but with less overall people, and more local populace.

Irvine Global Village Festival

Starting off Saturday, I headed down to the Global Village Festival. Much larger than I had anticipated, this festival covered the entire span of Bill Barber Park in Irvine. The festival contained five distinct areas, each representing the different offerings the fest had to offer: restaurants, entertainment, vendors, cultural area, and kid’s area. Although free to attend, participation favored those who planned to visit for a long time. Guests needed to purchase tickets in order to eat, drink, or participate in rides, games, events, etc. Since guests could not purchase individual tickets, this system catered more towards families spending the day there.

Taste of Brews – Dana Point

Taste of Brews returned to Dana Point for the second time. Abandoning the typical Taste of Brews setup, this beer fest took a detour from the typical beer fest we all know and love in order to accommodate for the partnership with the Dana Point BBQ Championship. Taste of Brews made up for the lack of venue area and beer variety with a lower admission of $30, the full four-hour duration, and unlimited beer pours. Sadly, all guests had to pay for food separately.

Dana Point BBQ Championship

The umbrella that Taste of Brews sailed under, the Dana Point BBQ Championship occurred at the same time as Taste of Brews. Mainly a private competition, guests could enter for free after the judging had completed, but each sample costed $2 each. $2 per sample seems extremely pricey, but all proceeds went towards the VFW charity. This event served as the food provider for Taste of Brews guests.

Shoutout to the Smokin’ It Up BBQ Crew from Eastvale for whipping out their reserve batch of brisket for me to try.

LA Chinatown Moon Festival

After the madness of Punk Rock Pillow Fight a few months ago, I had high expectation for the Chinatown Moon Festival. Sadly, I arrived to clustered chaos. Nothing stood out in all of Chinatown, save for the masses of people trying to push their way through the crowds. The scene perfectly reminded me of Punk Rock Pillow Fight, but without the actual pillow fight. Disappointed and tired after driving through Carmageddon, I left before dark.

LA Beer Week
Now through September 30
Greater Los Angeles Area
http://www.labeerweek.com/

This 11-day beer celebration covers Los Angeles through Orange County, culminating in a beer fest on the last day in Downtown Los Angeles. During this period, virtually every restaurant, bar, gastropub, and any other craft beer establishment will host some sort of beer event. Literally hundreds of beer events will take place over 11 days in the Greater Los Angeles Area, so for an abridged list, visit the website linked above. Even the website cannot contain every single event! Check with your local favorite brewpub to find out how they will participate.

Voodoo Glow Skulls, Union 13, White Kaps, Destruction Made Simple, Brother @ Blue Star Cafe
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 27
Blue Star Cafe, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/459824527373135/

Come see Voodoo Glow Skulls, Union 13, and more rip it up this Thursday night at Blue Star Cafe in Los Angeles. $10 cover includes free food. If you have not seen these bands perform, you are missing quite a show.

Stair Climb for Los Angeles
11:00 am – 9:00 pm, September 28
YMCA, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1027666

On this day, the city will shut down Hope Street as thousands attempt to race up the stairs of the US Bank tower in Downtown Los Angeles. This all-day fest also includes food trucks, live music, a beer garden, rock-climbing walls, and more. Even if you cannot participate in the climb, the actual festival requires no fee to enter.

Feast of San Gennaro
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, September 28-30
Hollywood & Highland
http://feastofla.org/

Hosted by Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel, the Feast of San Gennaro makes its annual return this weekend just south of Hollywood & Highland. This street festival celebrates Italian culture in America, and will feature Italian food, desserts, drinks, music, entertainment, and more. Admission costs $5, while parking will vary.

St. Pius V Fall Festival
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, September 28
3:00 pm – 11:00 pm, September 29
1:00 pm – 9:00 pm, September 30
St. Pius V Church, Buena Park
http://events.ocregister.com/buena_park_ca/events/show/282587545-st-pius-v-fall-festival

This annual fair/carnival returns this weekend. Free to park and enter, this family-friendly fair has fair food, rides, games, music, and more.

11th Annual Irvine Global Village Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, September 29
Bill Barber Park, Irvine
http://www.cityofirvine.org/globalvillage/default.asp

This international cultural festival occurs this Saturday in Irvine at Bill Barber Park. Free to park and enter for all ages, this multicultural fest features international cuisine, live entertainment, a kids village with crafts & activities, cultural & religious exhibits, and an international marketplace.

Pirate Invasion of Long Beach
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, September 29-30
Marina Green Park, Long Beach
http://www.alfredosbeachclub.com/seafest-pirate-mg.html

Come see and act like pirates at the beach! Visitors may choose to dress as a pirate or arrive in normal clothes. Many others will fully dress up to play their parts. Unlike the pirate fest at the beginning of summer, this one has an admission cost that gets you pirate shows, vendors, music, games, and more in a larger setting with more content. If you plan to stay for a while, sunscreen available. Immediate parking has a cost, while visitors can park in the neighborhoods east of Alamitos Ave if they want to avoid paying for parking.

Taste of Brews – Dana Point
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, September 29
Sea Terrace Park, Dana Point
http://www.tasteofbrews.com/

Taste of Brews returns for their second annual Dana Point beer fest this Saturday at its new location – Sea Terrace Park. This time, Taste of Brews will coincide with the Dana Point BBQ Championship, meaning a two-for-one admission deal. Admission includes a number of 4oz beer pours, free waters (while supplies last), and live entertainment.

LA Beer Float Showdown 4
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, September 29
Golden Road Brewing, Atwater Village
http://www.foodgps.com/events/

Part of LA Beer Week, catch the LA Beer Float Showdown this Saturday afternoon at Golden Road Brewing in Atwater Village. Five teams of LA chefs and breweries compete to serve the ultimate beer float to the people. The $35 admission starts at 2pm and includes a float from each team, and a savory food item from Golden Road. For $10 more for VIP, guests enter an hour earlier, receive a special Golden Road beer, and can take home a souvenir glass.

74th Annual LA Chinatown Moon Festival
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, September 29
Chinatown, Los Angeles
http://www.chinatownla.com/calendar.php?eventId=359

Chinese Thanksgiving celebrations continue this Saturday in Chinatown with their annual Moon (Cake) Festival. Free to attend for all ages, participants celebrate by eating mooncakes, mini pastries that may contain up to 2,000 calories each. In addition, guests can see kung fu demos, lion dancers, live music, food trucks, ping pong tournaments, and more. Guests can find free street parking beyond Spring St. or close to LA State Historic Park.

4th Annual LA Beer Week Festival
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, September 30
Union Station, Los Angeles
http://www.labeerweek.com/unionStation.php

LA Beer Week concludes its 2012 run with its annual beer fest closer this Sunday. In addition to the over 70 breweries present to serve beer, multiple food trucks will pair their foods (sold separately) with the beers. The $50 admission comes with UNLIMITED pours, so prepare your body to handle this!

The 2nd Annual Taste of Brews Long Beach returned to where it all started this past Saturday at Lighthouse Park in Long Beach. Altering some things from last year’s format, the organizers had to adapt to last-minute rule changes. Instead of unlimited pours, all guests received 15 tickets to receive 4 oz. pours. Unlike last year, no VIP area existed this time – instead, attendees with an early-entry ticket provided the option of entering an hour early, plus three additional beer tickets. Staying true to the locals, most of the breweries that attended hail from California. A few restaurants offered food samples, while four food trucks provided extra food, though at their price.

So what made this beer fest such a hit? The organizers did all they had to do to ensure ample satisfaction to the guests. Prior to the start of the fest, volunteers and security checked the ID’s of and distributed wristbands to everyone in line. Staging the fest on grass allows for easy disposal of extra or unwanted beer so guests could proceed to the next brew. Having extra space around the fest allows guests to relax between drinks away from the crowds, especially with all the trees available to provide shade. Food samples kept guests fed, while food trucks could feed guests even more. Live music prevented awkward silences throughout the fest. The organizers simply knew what to do. After all, an organization cannot have four successful beer fests already without knowing what to do.

Want to attend the next Taste of Brews? Mark your calendar for 2pm-6pm on Saturday, September 29, for Taste of Brews will repeat their Dana Point fest, but with the Dana Point BBQ Fest as well! Purchase tickets by September 9 to save $5 on admission!

Touted as the PREMIER and ONLY (current) Long Beach Beer Fest, Taste of Brews returns this Saturday afternoon to where it all started – Lighthouse Park near Downtown Long Beach. Located behind the Aquarium of the Pacific, Taste of Brews brings the best of craft beers from all over the world, with a focus on Californian breweries. Whereas a brewery’s beer fest usually limits the amounts of beers that guests can obtain, Taste of Brews, as an event organization, allows guests unlimited beers until 4pm. General admission begins at 1pm, while guests with the early-entry ticket can enter at 12pm. Having visited all Taste of Brews events in the past, I have some tips for those visiting for the first time.

  • REMEMBER to bring PHOTO ID! Amazingly, many guests think they can enter without showing it to the front security.
  • Local restaurants may sample food, while food trucks come at a separate cost, so anyone wanting to eat more should arrive with cash.
  • Attendees should park in the parking structure across Shoreline Drive, next to Hotel Avia. Validate your parking slip at the front table of the fest for $7 parking.
  • Want to park for free? Search in the neighborhoods east of Alamitos Avenue, but prepare for a long walk to the park.
  • Ride your bikes! The park officials provide bike racks for free use.
  • Apply sunscreen, and have extra sunscreen available. Security will not confiscate sunscreen from you.
  • For prolonged drinking, start with lighter beers and work your way to stronger beers. Click here for the list of breweries.
  • Stay hydrated! Volunteers will hand out complimentary waters.

Take care after the fest ends. Security will not allow guests to linger too long afterwards, and police WILL patrol the area following the end of the fest. If you need something to do to kill time and sober up after the fest, check out Busker Fest for free going on at 1st Street between Elm and Linden just a block or two east of downtown.

Need more of a preview of Taste of Brew? Check out my photos below from last year’s Taste of Brews Long Beach:

I hope to see you at Taste of Brews this Saturday! Say Hi if you see me ~

Costa Mesa Restaurant Week
Now through August 24
Various locations, Costa Mesa
http://www.travelcostamesa.com/costa-mesa-restaurant-week/

The annual Costa Mesa Restaurant Week returns! Numerous restaurants in Costa Mesa will feature special prix fixe meals or other discounted items during this time. Many of these restaurants have amazing food, so I encourage you to check out at least one of the restaurants during this week.

Taste of Downtown Long Beach
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, August 22-23
Pine Avenue & Broadway, Long Beach
http://downtownlongbeach.org/archives/6569

The final Taste of Downtown Long Beach will conclude this week with its finale at Pine Avenue and Broadway. The Taste of Downtown Long Beach follows the same format as Belmont Shore Stroll & Savor – booklets of 12 tickets cost $10, and each participating restaurant or bar will consume varying amounts of tickets. Beachwood BBQ will host a beer garden inside the parking lot.

Cruisin’ the Island
5:00 pm – 8:30 pm, August 23
2nd Street, Naples Island, Long Beach
http://naplesislandbusiness.com/

Think of this as the Naples version of the Belmont Shore Stroll & Savor. Free admission and parking, while ticket booklets of 12 cost $10. Buying two booklets provides you with a raffle entry to win a $500 credit towards a cruise. Most of the Naples Island restaurants will participate, allowing you to sample food that otherwise could not participate in Stroll & Savor.

Ribs For your Pleasure
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, August 23
Beachwood BBQ, Seal Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/422239581159855/

On this glorious night, Beachwood BBQ will serve SIX different types of ribs a la carte: pork, beef, lamb, antelope, venison, and wild boar. Meat-lovers will not want to miss this.

Voodoo Glow Skulls – Record Release Party
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, August 23
Alpine Village, Torrance
http://www.facebook.com/events/334550966629524/

Voodoo Glow Skulls, Left Alone, Chencha Berrinches, La Pobreska, Rompe Cabezas and Death March ft. Skinhead Rob from the Transplants will all perform on this night at Alpine Village. If you have not seen Voodoo Glow Skulls live, you must go to this show.

Decadence – A Celebration of the Senses
8:00 pm – 11:00 pm, August 24
Fairmont Hotel, Newport Beach
http://www.ocweekly.com/microsites/decadence2012/
Discounted tickets (expires Wednesday)

This festival for the senses will feature 30 local restaurants, live music & DJs, local dance performers, signature cocktails, and more. $30 all-inclusive admission, free parking.

2012 Los Angeles Guitar Festival
8:00 pm, August 24
7:00 pm, August 25
Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
http://www.laguitarfestival.com

This festival will feature many types of musicians, live performances, music vendors, and more. Ticket prices range from $30 to $125. Fans of music will not want to miss this gala.

Taste of Brews – Long Beach
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, August 25
Lighthouse Park, Long Beach
http://www.tasteofbrews.com/

The PREMIER beer fest for Long Beach, Taste of Brews brings the best in craft beer to Lighthouse Park behind the Aquarium of the Pacific this Saturday. General admission begins at 1pm, while early entry (VIP) begins at 12pm. Parking gets complicated, as one cannot simply park right at the venue. The nearby parking structure will only allow parking for aquarium guests. The actual parking structure for this event lies across Shoreline Drive, next to Avia Hotel. For those who do not want to pay for parking, the next closest free parking stretches out to the neighborhoods east of Alamitos Avenue. I parked in a neighborhood last year, but walking in the heat drained me by the time I reached the fest area.

SoCal Tomato Battle
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, August 25
Irvine Lake, Irvine
http://tomatobattle.com/socal/

Looking for a messy time? Expect to see hundreds of thousands of tomatoes flung at unwilling people at this all-out tomato fight. Live music, costume contests, a beer garden, and more await you at Irvine Lake this Saturday.

4th Annual Busker Fest
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, August 25
East Village Arts District, Long Beach
http://summerandmusic.com/buskerfest/

Buskerfest returns to Long Beach this Saturday. Like the Long Beach Funk Fest, various bands will perform on buskers in the East Village Arts Districts, with the headliners playing on the main stage. Free to attend, fans of music will surely want to come here.

Brews, Blues, N’ BBQ Festival
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm, August 25
Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton
http://www.fullertonarboretum.org/brews_and_blues.php

The Fullerton Arboretum hosts a festival for Blues music, craft beers, and BBQ this Saturday night. The $40 admission includes a souvenir glass, ten 4-oz beer tasters, free parking, live blues music, and complimentary sodas and water. All BBQ and food comes separate.

Punk Rock Pillow Fight
7:30 pm – 10:30 pm, August 25
Chinatown, Los Angeles
http://www.punkrockpillowfight.com/

Essentially a glorified pillow fight, this event marks night three – the final day of Punk Rock Pillow Fight at this location. Free to participate, kids usually fight first while the adults come out to play when it gets dark. I may get to DJ the fights, so come check it (me) out!

Trump National Golf Club’s 4th Annual Wine & Beer Festival
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, August 26
Trump National Golf Club, Rancho Palos Verdes
http://www.trumpnationallosangeles.com/Default.aspx?p=DynamicModule&pageid=355164&ssid=261799&vnf=1

Have some wine and beer at one of Donald Trump’s golf clubs here in Southern California. The $50 admission comes with unlimited wine & beer and valet parking. Food trucks will keep patrons fed, and volunteers will sell raffle tickets.

Los Angeles Fried Chicken Fest
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, August 26
The Coop Pop-Up, Beverly Hills
http://www.lafriedchickenfest.com/

Ever wanted to try fried chicken prepared by nine of LA’s top chefs? Now you have a chance at the LA Fried Chicken Fest! In addition to the best fried chicken you will ever have, craft beers and cocktails will keep you hydrated.