The beer year is getting filled with more and more events, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. Some events end up being missed amongst the forest of other craft beer gatherings and intriguing breweries and locales and themes may be missed. In years past, I have recommended some of the bigger and well-known fests like our own L.A. Beer Week, or the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival, which are still must see and taste events, but how about a few others that offer the thrill of the unknown or different. Here are a few beer festivals to add to your calendar for 2014.
Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival: A great chance to sample some Bay area beers from a region that is really growing fast. Lagunitas, 101 North, HenHouse and others may be attendance in this fall get-together.
Hangar 24 Pugachev’s Barrel-Aged Beer Festival: I am still kicking myself for missing this one last year because it is a crazy collection of barrels plus regular tap list favorites from the fast-growing Redlands brewery.
Sierra Nevada Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild: Last year was the first IPA fest up in Chico at a certain brewery known for torpedoing hops and Sierra Nevada will probably improve in their sophomore tribute to hops.
Ladyface Ale Companie 4th Anniversary: Hey, this is this month! What better way to start the year then the week-long celebration of 4 years of beers in Agoura Hills.
Pizza Port Strong Ale Festival: Amid all of the hoopla and great beer in the San Diego scene, this gem of a festival in Carlsbad is one to try a variety of the big beers by the sea.
Your Beer of the Week comes from Ireland. It is a slight tweak or variation to the classic Dry Irish Stout from Guinness. It is the seasonal Red Harvest version of the standard. It has the same creamy head to it (thanks to the widget in the can) and dark color but is a touch sweeter and less roasty. A nice change of pace from the famous Dublin brewery.
Your Homework is to raise a pint in remembrance of Sam Samaniego of Stuffed Sandwich fame, who passed away this week. He was one of the craft beer pioneers in the Los Angeles area. Without Sam and Dave Farnsworth of Lucky Baldwin’s there wouldn’t have been much of any good beer to be had in the “wilderness” years that preceded our current boom times. Sam’s choice to put craft beer on the menu was a bold bet that has since proven prescient. May he rest in peace knowing that fact.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.