Several weeks back you might recall I wrote about my day at the San Diego International Beer Festival at the Del Mar fairgrounds.
At the time, I wrote what could generally be considered a positive piece on the show. I pointed out the flaws I found, but I generally kept it more positive and emphasized the fun aspects.
A few weeks has seen me change my tune. Those flaws I found quickly turned into big negatives for me.
Like a rotting wound, my negative feelings continued to fester. The more I thought about those negative points, the more I felt that they were unacceptable.The more I spoke to my friends who attended with me, the more we felt the show had left a bad taste in our mouth.
The main issue that I’m referring to is that with a little over an hour left in our session 95% of the beer was gone. Nothing left. Zero.
If they pulled a stunt like this at Oktoberfest in Germany they would have been drawn and quartered.I’m pretty sure that’s a law there.
Enter this past weekend’s San Diego Brew Festival at Liberty Station.
A chance for redemption or another kick in the crotch?
Spoiler alert – I loved it.
The people who organized this event get it. The tables are in small clusters, spread around the grounds so that massive crowds are not so massive. I enjoyed the open air environment as well. It was a little hot on Saturday, but I feel it added more to the tasting of the beer. Two areas hosted food trucks to keep us beer lovers happy with tasty treats and I enjoyed the cover band as well. I’m biased, they played every song in my car during the late 90’s.
The breweries on hand were some of the very best from the West. From Ballast Point and Green Flash to Deschutes and Shipyard, there is truly something for everyone. The other side of that coin is that I wouldn’t call the beer selection eclectic. If you are looking to try something crazy unique that you can only find at the festival, this isn’t the show for you. If you just want to enjoy drinking great craft beer and making new friends, I think you’ll be very happy at this festival.
Something that I personally enjoyed at this festival over Del Mar was the fact that the people working the tables were actually from the breweries and not some poor schlub making minimum wage to pour beer and can’t answer any of my questions about the beer I’m drinking. My appreciation of that knows no bounds.
Another thing I’d like to mention is that proceeds from this event go to Noah’s B-ark Pet Rescue, a cause that as a pet owner, I will always be happy to drink to.
It’s safe to say the frustration and bad taste that was left in my mouth after Del Mar was washed away with a pint size of awesome fun at Liberty Station. As I mentioned before, if your aim is to find a limited release beer, this may not be the right show for you. At least not yet, and maybe as the show grows over the next few years, maybe that will change, but for the time being you can count on a fun time to be had.
Oh and guess what? They sure as hell didn’t run out of beer with an hour to go.