San Diego Brew Fest 2013

By: Heather Wolf

2nd-annual-san-diego-brew-fest-at-liberty-station-july-21-2012-sIf you’re looking for a good time and a very full bladder, San Diego Brew Fest is the place for you. San Diego is home to a plethora of excellent microbreweries. In fact, it is the craft beer capital of the United States, which may explain why during the summer, I have come to find, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a beer tasting event. No complaints here. My friends K, A and I had had a GREAT time (complete with attractive men and real bathrooms) at Epic Beer Festival at the San Diego Convention Center earlier this year and K didn’t hesitate to sign up when she saw the promotion for San Diego Brew Fest, benefiting Noah's Bark Pet Rescue. Who can say no to beer for a good cause?! Who wants to say no to beer, period?

After months of eagerly awaiting our next opportunity for beer-tasting shenanigans, the event was finally nigh! Unfortunately, K decided to move a few states East, so It was going to be A and I for brew times, round two until A had to pull her hat our of the ring as well. As any woman in her thirties knows, it takes a smartphone calendar convention to schedule the simplest outing and this was a holiday weekend. I refused to allow those dedicated few still available and willing to brave flaring ulcers or possible alcohol poisoning to accompany me, so it passed to me, myself and I to carry the good times forward. I have never been one to let flying solo hold me back, so to Liberty Station I went!

First, let me say, "holy free parking, Batman!". In any major city, free and plentiful parking for an event is a definite win. Once I made the decision to purse or not to purse (I chose pockets), I opened the car door and stepped out into the sunshine and audible live music . . . from a block away. Clearly, a great start. Turning the corner to see the entrance line wrapped around the fence of the event field wasn't so great, but the line moved quickly and the weather was perfect. Once through the gate and armed with my event tasting mug, I got in line and down to business, determined to down as many obscure craft brews as my body could absorb.

Here are my little beer tasting event tips gleaned from my experience so far:

brewfest review for www.her30s.comSpeed and Selectivity

Beer-tasting minutes are like dog years- make them count. Once your mini-mug is filled from one booth, get in line at the next. The lines move briskly and you'll probably finish off one tasting just in time for a refill, or more likely a mini-chug. I noticed a few debatably smarter attendees pouring remaining beer out in the grass on the sidelines, but in my world that's called sacrilege. I will admit, somewhere after my fifth booth, splitting a beer with the grass was starting to look a bit tempting, but my “no beer gets left behind” training is just too ingrained. Make note, that plastic tasting mug may look cute and innocent at first, but it starts to look huge when you have 57 brewers, each with at least two varieties and pourers who are not afraid to make your cup runneth over. I tend to get full quickly, but regardless of stomach capacity microbrews are substantial, so expediency is key and there's no room for big name breweries. If it's available in your favorite bar or super market, skip it at the events. Give the room to new, different and up and coming breweries, they don’t disappoint.

Pretzel Necklaces

You'll see the experienced beer-festers sporting this edible accessory; wearable food is flat out genius, as far as I'm concerned. I had plum forgotten this trick from Epic Beer Festival, but I will certainly remember in the future. Both events I have attended thus far did offer some type of overpriced snack. Epic Beer Festival had convention hall concessions and Brew Fest employed the very au courant food trucks to service their event. I'm certain the organizers of any beer festival would not miss the golden opportunity to have overpriced snacks available for its increasingly inebriated attendees, but if you want to avoid emptying your wallet, while keeping your stomach fulland beer-absorbent, a pretzel necklace is the way to go.

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