San Diego Brewers Guild Festival 2012

Mayor Sanders pours me a beerOne of the signature events of San Diego Beer Week is the Brewers Guild Festival. With almost every San Diego beer brewery participating, a picturesque location, plenty of food options and live music this was the place to be on Saturday.

The festival kicked off with Sam the Cooking Guy introducing Mayor Sanders who welcomed us all and helped pour a freshly tapped cask of double dry hopped Big Barrel from Karl Strauss. Getting served beer by the mayor is an experience I didn’t expect and won’t forget. He seemed happy and was very friendly.

The location was about as perfect as could be for an event like this. There were 2 outdoor locations and a big interior hall giving you ample room to move in and outdoors. The beauty of our city and the harbor made a great backdrop to the occasion. The layout of the brewery tents was well spaced and I didn’t have to wait more than 2 minutes for any beer sampling.

The festival was busy but not overcrowded. We were able to move about as we wanted and very rarely encountered more than 10 people at each tent. Everyone was having fun and you could feel the positivity in the air. Although we were “limited” to 15 tastings I felt there was incredible value to the $35 admission price and left with 4 “tokens” still on my bracelet.

Some of the standouts for me were Societe’s the Butcher, Pompous Ass from San Marcos Brewery and my overall favorite of the day Ruination with Habanero from the mighty Stone. This year seemed to be dominated by big heavy stouts; does this mark a turn from the San Diego IPA explosion? We will have to wait and see but personally I hope more breweries experiment with over hopped stouts.

San Diego Beer Week is growing in popularity with almost 500 events scheduled during the 10 day “week”. The Brewers Guild Festival is definitely a marquee event marking the unofficial start to one of the best weeks in San Diego if, like me, you love beer.

I will be at the 5 Chef Societe dinner tomorrow and hope to see you there. Have a look at my photos and make sure you attend next year’s festival!

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