Attendees enjoying beer at the 2013 Beachwood and Friends Craft Beer Garden at Bikefest Long Beach. Photo by Lydia Chain.
Five years ago, it was hard to find a craft beer in this town. Today, however, everywhere from dive bars to fine restaurants have swapped out fizzy yellow taps for more uncommon brews from places like Stone and The Bruery.
But every weekend until the end of next month, the regular beer menu won’t be the only way to drink good beer because the city will be ablaze with craft beer festivals, homegrown events and rare tasting opportunities that only seek to increase Long Beach’s beer prominence.
And why not? The city is one of the region’s most-appropriate beer destinations, not only for its award-winning three brewpubs, but its central and transit-accessible location that rivals events in car-slogged L.A.
So get ready for this weekend’s Taste of Brews and save the future dates for the rest. Summer might almost be over, but the flow of craft beer into Long Beach is just beginning.
TASTE OF BREWS
Saturday, August 24
For the third year in a row, Taste of Brews is taking over Lighthouse Park in the Shoreline for a massive beer festival that will provide beer from more than 40 breweries alongside food from local restaurants and a half-dozen food trucks that would otherwise be hard-pressed to find a legal reason to park in city limits. Of the intensive lineup of beer-makers that will be present this weekend, 14 are from the greater Los Angeles area–more than in any previous year. But this isn’t just an event to showcase the growing local beer scene. It’s an all-inclusive festival that brings together nationally recognized brands from across the Western part of the Unites States (and a few from Europe and beyond), allowing you to try it all in one place for a beer festival like nothing else in town.
Taste of Brews will take place Saturday, August 24 from 12PM-4PM at Lighthouse Park, 200 Aquarium Way. Tickets for four-hour tastings are $47.50, with proceeds benefitting the Long Beach Marine Institute. For more information and to buy tickets, visit tasteofbrews.com
QUEEN MARY’S DELICIOUS CHILI & BREWFEST
For as down-home and small-town Long Beach can feel sometimes, the city has never had a large-scale chili cookoff. Thankfully, the Queen Mary is about to change all that with its inaugural Delicious Chili & Brewfest, an event that will be so yummy that it has an enticing adjective built into its title. In its first year, this festival is already sanctioned by the International Chili Society and more than 15 top chili chefs will be competing throughout the day for a chance to win cash as well as automatic qualification for the 2014 World’s Championship Chili Cookoff. While the chefs cook up chili across categories like red, chili verde, salsa and homestyle, local and national breweries will be pouring beers to wash it all down. Sam Adams, Angry Orchard, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Valiant, Rock Bottom and El Segundo Brewing will all be on hand and tasters are only $2 each!
The Queen Mary’s Chili & Brewfest will take place Sunday, September 1 from 11AM-6PM at the Waterfront Event Park, 1126 Queens Highway. Tickets are $10 online, $15 door; VIP is $39 online, $45 door; Kids (ages 5-11) are $5. Tasting Tickets are $2 each. For more information, visit http://www.queenmary.com/events/delicious_chilli_brew.php
BEACHWOOD BBQ SOURFEST 2013
Yes, the beer has technically gone bad, but Beachwood’s bi-annual Sourfest is the stuff of legends for beer geeks. For two years, the staff at one of the country’s top-rated beer-bar brands (owe it to an epic guest tap list at both its Seal Beach and Long Beach locations) stockpiles alcoholic beverages of the sour persuasion and in the span of a few days, unleashes all of the aged, tart deliciousness alongside even more rare kegs culled from the cellars of years past. Dubbing this year’s incarnation “The Ultimate Acid Trip,” Sourfest takes over every tap at both locations and is a chance for fans of bacteria-created off-flavors to try their favorite hard-to-find brews and an even better opportunity for those curious about what a sour beer even is to try as many variations on the sour descriptor as possible. For the dedicated, a shuttle will run between locations on September 6, 7 and 8.
Beers are tapped throughout the week and are available for individual pour purchase. Brewers nights will feature sour beer producers from around the country. Visit beachwoodbbq.com for more information.
DRINK GOOD BEERFEST
Saturday, September 14
The Factory in Bixby Knolls was one of the first places in the city to have craft beer on tap and so it only makes sense that they are the first establishment to independently organize their very own beer festival. And in typical BK fashion, it’s an all-out community event with more than 30 local breweries, live music from Long Beach bands and a homebrew competition that will let the winner brew a beer with Orange County’s Cismontane Brewing. Now in its second year, the Drink Good Beerfest will take place in the parking lot behind The Factory’s strip mall on Atlantic Ave. and is programmed to be more than just a beer-swilling good time. Beer forums and demonstrations will educate while more than 60 made-in-SoCal beers are poured, giving Long Beachers a unique opportunity to taste the many facets of the growing craft beer movement right in our own backyard.
Drink Good Beerfest will take place on Saturday, September 14 from 1PM-4PM at The Factory. Pre-sale tickets are $25 through August 24 and $35 afterwards. $40 at the door. To purchase tickets, go to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/431562
PROMENADE BEER & WINE FEST
Saturday, September 21
After several summers of incorporating Long Beach’s growing local beer and wine scenes into its music and food events, the Downtown Long Beach Associates are finally putting on a festival dedicated entirely to the alcoholic crafts that are slowly taking over Downtown. Inspired by the stretch of restaurants, wine and beer bars now lining the Promenade (from The Stave to Beachwood), the first ever Beer & Wine Festival will bring together more than 20 area breweries and an unnamed number of California wineries to be paired with nibbles from the kitchens on Pine Ave. and beyond. The evening festival is not only an amped up version of the Taste of Downtown series the DLBA puts on every summer, but is also a coming out party of sorts for the revitalized walkable stretch, which this year saw completion of the three-block master plan. With the Blue Line station mere feet from festival grounds, this is the chance for Downtown Long Beach to invite proper Angelenos down so we can make them green with beer envy.
The Promenade Beer & Wine Festival will take place on Saturday, September 21 from 5PM to 10PM. Pre-sale tickets will be $25 and go on sale August 30. $30 at the gate. The DLBA is currently accepting participation from California Wineries and Breweries, as well as Long Beach Restaurants. To participate, visit downtownlongbeach.org.
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