The California State Fair held its Brewers Festival on July 20, 2013 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Miller Lite Grandstand on the lawn in front of the racking track. The beer lover’s festival successfully introduced brews from 36 participating breweries. Attendees were provided 5-oz souvenir tasting mini mugs, wrist bands with ten removable tabs to mark their patronage at the booths, and ample time to enjoy the various brews.
The event was a big hit for fair and beer fans as well as the California Brewers Guild which provides “the management and coordination of Home Brew and Commercial Brewing competitions or events within the State of California.” The State Fair began the Commercial Craft Brewing competition in 1993 with competition entries growing tremendously. One of the most dramatic increases was evidenced this year with the 120 entries in 2012 leaping to 646 entries in 2013.
Breweries participating in the Festival tasting event brought in a full range of brews for sampling from the 28 competition categories such as Light, Standard, Premium, and European Lagers, Dortmunder Exports, Pilsners, Black Beer, Hybrid Beers, Wheat and Rye Beers, English, Scottish, Irish and India Ale, Stout, Mead, Fruit Beers, Porters, IPAs, Applewine, Fruit Ciders and more. The extent of brews at hand were vast and tasty and offered something for every palette.
Guests were noted to be both die-hard beer fans, some rare first-time beer drinkers, designated drivers, and a few youngster accompanying their parents. Guests were also noted to be of overall friendly and happy demeanor with an event free of discord or conflict. Official law enforcement personnel were present as if-required peacekeepers and drink responsibly reminders. However, the crowd was well-behaved and filled the designated event area with an ideal number of beer tasters to make the event lively, fun but not overly crowded or cause for delays in serving excess numbers.
Guests were also able to enjoy the horse races taking place during the festival while discovering their favorite brews and sharing the afternoon with friends. Attendees were of a broad age range and ethnicity and a fine example of California citizens who enjoy the annual State Fair activities. Tasting passes cost $20 at the door ($15 prepaid) with $5 designated drinker passes and no-fee for under 21 yellow wristbands with smiley faces. There was enough beer to keep tasters happy for an entire three hours, shade areas for keeping cool while sipping the frothy specialties, and ample smiles from servers, attendants, and guests.
This special event was a celebration of “the very best of beers in the state” from breweries that participated in the competition that took place in June. Many attendees expressed enthusiasm for attending every following year the event takes place. Favorites ranged from IPAs to Fruit Beers with new fans finding breweries they’ll want to patronize going forward. Please enjoy the accompanying slideshow with photos from the 2013 Brewer’s Festival. Links (21+) to pictured breweries are as follows:
- Mammoth Brewing Company
- ol’ Republic Brewery
- Green Flash
- River City Brewing Company
- Magnolia Pub & Brewery
- Hanger 24 Craft Brewery
- Loomis Basin Brewing Company
- Karl Strauss Brewing Company
- Bear Republic Brewing Company