This past Saturday, the West Coast Brewfest was held at Miller Park in Sacramento. Within spitting distance of two rather confused whales, I and several hundred of my closest friends partook in that fine summer event, the brewfest. Unlike an Oktoberfest celebration wherein men wear high socks and lederhosen and the women pour themselves into lace-up bodices, the brewfest calls for a completely different wardrobe. The typical brewfest attendee is typically garbed in: for males, shorts, flip-flops, t-shirt sporting comical yet cynical saying and sunglasses; for ladies, shorts/skirts, flip-flops, t-shirt sporting comical yet cynical saying referring to men’s inability to use good judgment when choosing a mate, and sunglasses.
Men’s choices in clothing this year ran the gamut from my clever shirt (a picture of the California Grizzly and underneath the saying, “Hecho En California”) to less clever (a guy with a white t-shirt on which he had written in Sharpie “Hi! My name is Chris Hanson,” to which I asked “Who is Chris Hanson?” and he says “The guy from that show where they catch the perverts,” at which point I just went along with him, not wanting to tell him that the star of Dateline NBC’s popular show “To Catch a Predator” is named Chris Hansen, not Hanson) to the mundane (the guy in the Lark wearing the “Show me your tits” shirt, but he did make up for that by having a bumper sticker on the back of the Lark that said “Just Lazy”, and he told Mrs. Eats that she had spectacular boobs). Ladies fashions were a bit more subdued other than the Germanic amounts of cleavage that were being sported by everyone from old ladies to toddlers. Overall, the crowd was fun and lovable at the brewfest, except for that lady who ran into me, spilled her beer all over her hand and then wiped it on my clever shirt. Apparently, she thought that I had run into her and was “zinging” me by wiping her beer sodden cougar claw on my wonderfully clever shirt. So, I don’t want to seem petty here, but I sure hope she dies…soon.
Anyway, you probably want to know about the beer, and I would too because the truth is, I didn’t get to drink much. The event was listed as running from 1-5pm, so we showed up a little later than I wanted to but not too late at 2:30pm. Rather to my surprise, some of the breweries whose craft brews I was looking forward to tasting were already packing up and calling it a day at 2:45pm. By 3pm, nearly half of the breweries were out of beer and no longer pouring. This may have been because most of the pourers were giving each person a nearly full mug of beer per “taste.” Now, I’m no genius when it comes to weights and measures, especially liquid measure, more especially if you throw in the metric system, but I’m thinking that a pouring a full mug of beer per person not only slows up the lines, but also causes you to run out beer at three fucking o’clock at an event that is supposed to last until five goddamned o’clock and for which I spent $30 which got me four whole “tastes” of beer.
You may be able to tell that I am somewhat passionate about the whole concept of the brewfest. To say I was disappointed would be accurate, but the day was not a total loss. To temper my disappointment, a few brews rose above the rest and colored the day with a softer, kinder light. Here are a few worth checking out at your local store, brewery, alehouse or brothel: 1) Almost anything by the two Czech breweries that had product there, Klaster and Kralovsky Pivovar Krusovice. 2) Absolutely everything from Sequoia Brewing Co in Fresno, yes that’s right, Fresno. They have nummy beers. 3) From our friends at the North Coast Brewing Company in Ft. Bragg comes Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale. Not only is this a very tasty beer, but it has a snazzy label featuring jazz icon Thelonious Monk. And that’s not all, part of the proceeds received from every bottle goes to the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute to further jazz education. How can you not want to support that?
A special word goes to the Gold Country Brewers Association. They were very kind to me and my friend Tom when we attended one of their events in March, and they were equally nice at the brewfest. They were serving a delicious home brewed cider that was exceptional. I have recently put their name in a for an Editor’s Choice award in the “Best of Sacramento” put on by Sacramento Magazine and I hope that they’re recognized.
Anywhoo, the brewfest was a little lacking in terms of variety but not in terms of people watching. Next year, they may want to tell the pourers to lighten up or bring more product or both. Oh yeah, and one more thing, how bout a few more port-o-lets? The two that were near the entrance were full to bursting by 4pm. I mean full, like the soupy mix of human effluvia was forming a meniscus at the top of the bowl kind of full.
I’ll leave you with that image.