Archive for the ‘ Events ’ Category

Santa Barbara Big Beer Festival


BEER LIST! (updated Feb 9)

BrewCo: Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Doppelbock, Scottish 90/- and Belgian IPA.
Firestone Walker: Sucaba (formerly Abacus), Anniversary XV and a firkin of Union Jack.
Sierra Nevada: Bigfoot, Ovila Quad, Ovila Saison.
Heretic: Evil Twin, Evil Cousin, Shallow Grave and Worry.
Telegraph: Rhinocerous.
Anchor: Old Foghorn.
Surf Brewery: South Swell Double IPA.



Last week I got together with a couple of friends for a mini-beer tour of Santa Barbara.  We took the train (well worth the $17 DD fair) from Camarillo and arrived in Santa Barbara just in time for lunch.  Our first stop was Santa Barbara Brewing Company, a short walk up State Street from the train station, where we met up with Kevin Pratt Brewmaster, Grand Master Beer Judge and Cicerone.

Kevin has been the brewmaster at SBBC since last July and has already made his mark.  I have been following his “adventures” on Face book and his daily updates over the past six months read something like a home improvement journal.  He has scoured years of beer stone out of the system, fixed leaks and improved the overall system efficiency by something like 4000 percent!  OK, not quite that much but the improved efficiency led to a new beer detailed below.  The beer names at SBBC are still the same but don’t let that keep you from trying his new beers.  Kevin has completely retooled each recipe and the beers have never tasted better.

Kevin was kind enough to talk us through a tasting starting with the Blond, which is a 4.5% pilsner all the way through a 10% dopplebock.  But the fun didn’t end there, remember that improved efficiency?  Well, the first beer Kevin made (after basically rebuilding the brewhouse) was much stronger than any beer he had planned.  On the fly, Kevin looked through his hop inventory and decided he could salvage the beer by making it a Barleywine that comes in at 13%!  There isn’t much of that one left but don’t worry you can get a taste of that beer at an upcoming Big Beer Festival Kevin is planning in February.  What’s a big beer festival you ask?  Well that means that every one of the beers served will be BIG in aroma, BIG in flavor and BIG in alcohol! See below for details.

SBBC stout and serving tanks.

Big Beer Festival

Date: February 11th

Time: 10 -6

Place: Santa Barbara Brewing Company (Back Lounge), 501 State St., Santa Barbara

Price: $8 for the first sample and commemorative glass, $3 refills

17 big and rare beers from:

BrewCo: Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Doppelbock, Scottish 90/- and Belgian IPA.
Firestone Walker: Sucaba (formerly Abacus), Anniversary XV and a firkin of Union Jack.
Sierra Nevada: Bigfoot, Ovila Quad, Ovila Saison.
Heretic: Evil Twin, Evil Cousin, Shallow Grave and Worry.
Telegraph: Rhinocerous.
Anchor: Old Foghorn.
Surf Brewery: South Swell Double IPA.


SBBC Serving Tanks filled with liquid goodness!

My favorite SBBC meal, seared ahi wrap.


California Beer Festival Recap

The California Beer Festival – Ventura has come and gone but I couldn’t let it fade into history without a recap…

I am sure has been around for a while but this was the first event I have seen it used to judge the people’s choice award.   Attendees could use their smart phones to access a website where they could rate the breweries as they made their way around the festival.  The people’s choice winners for CBF-Ventura was: Two Trees Brewing Company !

Al Trevisan Two Trees Brewing

Click to read my interview with Al brewmaster of Two Trees.

I had a great time as one of their beer judges although it was a lot more “work” than I thought it would be.  We used modified BJCP guidelines to score each beer that passed in front of us and the top winners were: 1st Place: Figueroa Mountain Brewery Stage Coach Stout and 2nd Place: Firestone Walker’s Double Jack.

Beer, water, pretzel

Beer judging necessities!

Probably the best part of judging (besides the 27 beers) was that the beer came to us.  Thanks to Sarah and her crew for fetching the beer for us!  I really appreciated it.


Thanks, Sarah!

The judging crew.  In the top middle is John.  He was the organizer and task master:-)  Keeping us on track and making sure we had freshly rinsed glasses and just the right sized pours.  Thanks John.

California Beer Festival

CBF Judges

The Day Before …

You feel that?

The buzz?


Then you must not be going to the California Beer Festival.  Today I am tying up some loose ends like arranging transportation and organizing meet-ups at the festival.  All of it fun and just increasing my excitement for tomorrows event.

So I am harnessing my new found energy by organizing my “Fest-gear”.  First and foremost, I have my North Face water backpack to keep me hydrated but also it will be carrying all my schwag.  What schwag will I be giving away?   Well, there are 4 dozen lapel stickers, 50 beer fridge stickers, 20 HopHeadSaid fridge magnets (very cool and great quality) and two men’s large HopHeadSaid t-shirts.  Sorry, I won’t be giving the hat or sunscreen away.  Look for the guy in that BEER t-shirt (that should be easy right) and say hello.  I will be happy to meet you and give you a little sumpin-sumpin for your effort.

HopHeadSaid schwag

All my goodies are ready for The California Beer Festival

I am especially excited to be one of the four official judges for the event.  I will be tweeting and posting to Facebook all day long so if you can’t be there you can live vicariously through my posts.  Look to the top right conner for those links.

Moorpark Beer Tasting Festival

2nd Annual Moorpark Beer Festival 9-30-11

Click to visit the Official Moorpark Beer Festival Website.


A brew festival in Moorpark, CA.  Who knew?  I did (only recently, though) and now you do, too.  After reading about the event in the local paper I decided I would give Lilly Canterbury, the festival’s Chair, a call to find out about the event.  The event is “her baby” and guess what? She is excited and likes talking about her childrenJ

The Moorpark Beer Tasting Festival will kick off the Moorpark Country Days on historic High Street in Moorpark (of course) on Friday, September 30 from 5:30PM to 10:30PM.  All the proceeds go to Rotary Morning Club Foundation of Moorpark where they use the money to help support the community by purchasing extra school supplies and tennis shoes, among other things, for Moorpark students.

The event will feature 15 different breweries and a Thousand Oaks homebrewing club.  You will find 50+ taps there to wet your whistle while you listen to five different bands throughout the evening.  Your ticket will get you unlimited beer tastings and a handful of food tickets that you can redeem at one of the four restaurants attending or at the Rotary’s very own BBQ station when you get hungry.

Last year the Moorpark Beer Tasting Festival attracted nearly 400 visitors and only 3 breweries were on hand.  This year the event is focusing on exposing and educating one thousand people to the wonderful world of craft beer.  Stay tuned to HopHeadSaid for your chance to win a pair of tickets to the event and you can join in on the fun for free. The raffle will happen in the next two weeks but if you are worried about winning the tickets then watch the Moor Park Beer Tasting Festival website and/or Facebook page for your chance to buy one ticket and get one free through Goupon.

As always, be sure to “like” their Facebook page so you can keep on top of current events and help promote this great event.  And remember when you buy a ticket to the event you are helping to “Save the world one beer at a time.” Lilly Canterbury.

HopHeadSaid on the Radio

It was a busy Labor Day weekend. It had all the regular happenings – family time, site seeing, grilling, sunshine and of course beer!  But nestled in the middle of all of that and bright and early on Saturday morning I made my way to the KVTA radio station in Ventura to talk about beer and beer events on “805 with Tom and Sandy”.  “805”, for those of you who are not from California, is the area code that includes all of Ventura County and extends north and west to include quite a bit of the Central Coast.   The “805 with Tom and Sandy” show covers entertainment (everything from beer events to dining and comedy to sky diving) in the 805 area code. Just to toot their horn, Tom and Sandy’s show is the #1 rated local show on KVTA.

Click to visit 805 with Tom and Sandy

This is the second time I have been on the show and I love doing radio.  Probably because Tom and Sandy are great hosts and ask all the right questions!  It was a crowded studio this week because the local paper was there doing an interview and taking photos and a videographer was there shooting footage for a new Tom and Sandy teaser.  When the article and teaser are posted I will share the link with you.  Next time I am on the show I will remember to take some pictures so you can see all the crew in action.  Until then, you can listen to my appearances by clicking the links below. If you want to hear more of me on the radio be sure to tell Tom and Sandy.

September, 3 2011 (3:52)

805 with Tom and Sandy-9/3

June, 18 2011 (13:01)

805 with Tom and Sandy-6/18

California Beer Festival-Ventura

This is gonna be a great event!

Scroll down for some “insider” info.

California Beer Festival

Click image to visit the official website.

This will be the second stop for the California Beer Festival this year.  The first event was held in Santa Cruz and the last stop for this event will be in Claremont on October 8th.  So if you can’t make this date be sure to book your tickets for the Claremont event.

The Ventura event will feature 68 breweries represent’n from all over California and over 150 different beers!  Is it hard to see why I am excited for this event?  But the fun doesn’t stop there,  I am gonna be one of the beer judges!

Vincenzo, the mastermind behind this event, started the festival three years ago and it has steadily grown into the festival we will be enjoying in a few weeks.  He expects there to be 4,000 people attending the two day event.

Don’t overlook the second day of the festival.  There will be a BBQ cook off with free samples all day long, not to mention $5 beer to help keep you hydrated.  All this and 5 blues bands will be supplying the sound track while you enjoy a beautiful afternoon in Mission Park.

Beer festivals are always fun but it is easy to get carried away if you don’t have a plan.  Visit to see what I have listed and/or add your own tip.

Finally, I will have a bag full of HopHeadSaid schwag that I’ll be giving away, so be sure to track me down early before I give everything away!

Salute! VIP TOP 10


By the time you finish this Top 10 list you will kicking yourself for not paying the extra $$ not to attend! The good news is that there is always next year!


Shade. While there was a big ass tree and umbrellas in the parking lot you can see that shade was highly sought after commodity.  Fortunately for VIPers we could hang out in their covered patio after we got a plate full of food and a beer.

Shade Drinkers

Click to enlarge


Drinking at the bar.  Another place that was full of shade and BEER was the bar.  A handful of the  festival beers were being represented and a few others like the OBC beers and a beer or two from Avery.

Click to visit OBC.


The limo ride.  I was riding in style because of my VIP status.  While anybody could catch the early bus to the event only the VIPers could get a ride in limo where there was room to stretch out and relax.


Early happy hour.  The Friday night pairing dinner started off with an hour to taste some beers OBC was showcasing but wouldn’t be available at the festival.  Great idea!  The pairing tips for each beer were excellent recommendations.

Click to view larger picture.


Dr. Bill Sysak.  Dr. Bill is Stone Brewing’s beverage coordinator. He was a great host and I enjoyed his pairing descriptions. Be sure to visit his Facebook page and get some great pairing tips!

Click to visit Dr. Bill's Facebook page.


Hour early entrance.  This is what the “crowd” looked like right before general admission attendees started flowing in.  Pretty great, no!?  I used the extra hour to visit all the food booths to get my food on before the gates opened so I wouldn’t have to worry about food when all I wanted to do was taste beer.

early entry


The Food! Cafe Zack catered the event for 100+ people.  Look at the menu below and I dare you to not start drooling!-)

Click to visit Cafe Zack

The first course gave us just a hint of what we were in for.  The beef melted in your mouth while the arugula and the beer spices collaborated and complimented each other making the dish something greater than the sum of its parts!

Click to enlarge

This was definitely my favorite course!  This pairing used every taste bud I had.  The savory oils and lobster juxtaposed with the sweet crisp corn and oranges while curry creme sauce and the beer rounded up all the flavors and mixed them together with their unique spices made this an incredible eating experience.

Click to enlarge

There were more course but by the third course it was too dark for me to get a good snapshot with my phone.  Suffice it to say that each plate looked as beautiful and was as tasty as the last!


New friends.  Again with the new friends?  Well yes, because I wouldn’t have met this goofy bunch if we hadn’t shared the limo ride to the event!


New drinking tally system.  I had lost track of the beers I tasted and found this unique tally system written on this VIPers wrist.  As a side note, I sat with these two at the VIP dinner.

beer tally


Best dinner in a parking lot, eva!  It truly was a wonderful evening.  Great beer, excellent food, no pretentious table clothes, good friends, happy times and perfect weather.

parking lot