Last Saturday a friend and I each spent $31.50 to drink beer for three and a half hours. The event was called the California Beer Festival, which is one of a growing number of largish, beer-centered events. For those of you who are not familiar with how these things typically go down, this is the gist: stand in line to get a 3oz pour, drink that beer, go to the next booth and repeat. There are food trucks and vendors scattered around along with some kind of live music. I am going to review this experience from two angles - the beer drinker and the brewery owner.
Pretty fun! We drank beer all afternoon and the brew-kids were not around to bug me to watch two hours of awful cartoons. The tickets were also on Groupon, which made it reasonably priced (honestly, I don’t know if anybody there paid full price). To make this more than a drunk-fest, I brought along a notebook and made a point to write down each beer we tried, along with a rating on a 5 star scale. The advantage of this is that we had a constant source of debate and it slowed down the beer drinking. Others didn’t share our second goal, and for them the clean bathrooms were a lifesaver.
As far as the beer selection went, it was just OK. The website said there were 75+ beers on tap and I think that was overstated. Also, while most of the breweries were from California, only a handful were from Los Angeles County. Of those local breweries, the most respected were not in attendance. That being said, large craft breweries like Stone and Sierra Nevada had beers that you would only see if you visited their tap rooms. Here is a photo of our rating sheet!
Questionable. I am going to assume that for this event, breweries were expected to give their beer to the festival in exchange for the opportunity to pour tasters to hundreds of eager drinkers (and hopefully future customers). This may not have been the case, but this common among these kind of festivals. Secondly, it appeared that breweries were given the option of manning their own booths or having volunteers pour and interact with the patrons. This is also typical and at this event the majority of breweries had volunteers pouring. I see this is a problem because you are trusting somebody you likely don’t know to describe the beer, properly pour it and represent your company. Lastly, this festival was held in San Dimas, which aside from being the home of Bill and Ted, is 20 long miles from Pasadena.
What comes of this is my 6 Pack of Questions for Festival Participation:
Is a Wild Parrot representative willing and able to pour the beer at the event?
Are we paid for the beer that we will provide?
Is the event reasonably close to the brewery and distribution area?
Is this the kind of event where most people are eager to taste different beers or eager to get their money’s worth?
Are other local, respected breweries pouring at the event?
Is it likely to be 100 degrees outside (therefore 110 degrees inside of the booth)?
Verdict: I don’t think this would be an event Wild Parrot would be interested in participating in.
Finally, in our last blog post (a while back now) we did a follow up poll on naming our mascot. Elroy won and it wasn’t even close. So that’s the name!