Archive for the ‘ Festival ’ 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.


GABF vs. Camarillo Car Show and Beer Fest

Thankfully for those of us in Ventura County who couldn’t attend GABF there was the Camarillo Car Show and Beer Fest.  This was the first time I  attended the event and what a great event it was.  As you can see below there WERE cars … beautiful shiny, old and new cars.  Around the perimeter of the car show were beer and food tents for those who need sustenance while looking at classic cars.

Camarillo Car Show and Beer Fest

I had a 442 when I was 16 and while mine was candy apple red with a black vinyl top this car still brought back many memories of my once and short lived motorhead stage.

Camarillo Car Show and Beer Fest - 442

This was a unique beer event.  Not only were there breweries on hand (Telegraph and Surf) but there were also restaurants like JJ Brewsky’s and even the Beer Cave pouring beer.  Kinda expected so far but the unique part of the event (at least for me) was the hair salon and the car care store and other non-beer related industries that were on hand with a jockey box and beer on tap to sample.  My favorite part of the event was how spread the booths and the cars and people were.  I have been to a couple insanely popular beerfests recently and so it was really nice to be able to wander up to the beer tents and shoot the breeze with the vendors without worrying if you were holding up the line. Great event! I am looking forward to next year.


The Great American Beer Festival took place last weekend and while I had fun here in SoCal my thoughts were with all the folks enjoying Denver beer hospitality.  I lived  vicariously through twitter feeds and blog posts but nothing compares to actually experiencing GABF first hand!  Below you will find a couple of snippets to start you salivating if you want to read more you will have to click the link.



From the Brewers Association:

Boulder, CO • October 1, 2011—The 2011 Great American Beer Festival®(GABF) competition drew an impressive field of competitors, with 2011 topping last year’s entries by 11 percent. GABF remains the largest commercial beer competition in the world, with 3,930 beers vying for medals (compared to 3,523 entries in 2010).

A total of 248 medals were awarded. View the 2011 winners or download a PDF listof the winners.

Competition entries were received from 526 breweries from 48 states plus Puerto Rico.

This year’s GABF competition attracted 167 beer judges from nine countries. The competition was aided by the efforts of 107 volunteers. Award-winning brewers received prestigious gold, silver and bronze medals in 83 beer categories covering 134 beer styles (encompassing subcategories), establishing the best examples of each style in the U.S.


From the Brookston Beer Bulletin

The Breweries That Won the Most Medals:

  1. Sun King Brewing Co., 8 medals
  2. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 6 medals
  3. Pizza Port Carlsbad, 6 medals
  4. Rock Bottom Brewery, 6 medals
  5. Boston Beer Co., 4 medals

The Most Gold Medals Won:

  1. Sun King Brewing Co., 4 gold medals won
  2. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 3 gold medals won
  3. Pizza Port Carlsbad, 3 gold medals won
  4. 21st Amendment Brewery, 2 gold medals won
  5. Boulevard Brewing Co., 2 gold medals won

Medals Won by State:

  1. California = 51
  2. Colorado = 44
  3. Oregon = 15
  4. Illinois = 12
  5. TIE: Indiana, Washington = 10
  6. Virginia = 8
  7. TIE: Missouri, Pennsylvania, Utah = 7
  8. TIE: Delaware, Wisconsin = 6
  9. TIE: Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, Wyoming = 5
  10. TIE: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas = 4

Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year

Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
Brewer: Will Kemper

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company
Brewer of the Year
Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Paso Robles, CA
Brewer: Matthew Brynildson

Large Brewing Company and Large Brewing Company
Brewer of the Year
Pabst Brewing Company, Woodridge, IL
Brewer: Bob Newman

Small Brewpub and Small Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA
Brewer: Yiga Miyashiro

Large Brewpub and Large Brewpub Brewer of the Year
Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
Brewer: Pizza Port Brew Guys

Brewpub Group and Brewpub Group Brewer of the Year
TAPS Fish House & Brewery, Brea, CA
Brewer: Victor Novak

Moorpark Beer Festival Recap

Beer, food and music, what else do you need for a party.  How ’bout a thousand people enjoying the music, food and BEER … now you have a party!

Moorpark Beer Festival

Moorpark Beer Festival

One of the my highlights from last night was the Enegren Brewing station. I have been meaning to get to their tap room for quite some time and just haven’t been able to but last night our paths crossed in a most delicious way.  First, I tried Valkyrie on cask with vanilla.  Valkyrie is described as a Californian Alt Bier.  You can see a full technical description of the beer HERE.  The beer was smooth and tasty with just a touch of vanilla.  I find I am quite sensitive to vanilla (in beers not chocolate chip cookies) and many times vanilla is too prominent for my liking.  This beer skirted that edge and if I had tasted it a week ago before the vanilla had mellowed a bit I probably wouldn’t have liked it but last night vanilla Valkyrie from the cask was just right.

Also, I had the pleasure of tasting Enegren’s imperial IPA called Protector.  You can see a full technical description of the beer HERE.  This is not a stereotypical IIPA.  The combination of hops they use give the beer a earthy/spicy flavor and aroma instead of the ubiquitous resin/floral flavors and aromas found in all the others. Protector has a great hop flavor and an assertive bitterness to balance the malt sweetness present in this beer. Way to go guys!  I really like your interpretation of this style.

Enegren was also pouring their blonde but I didn’t get back to them  before it was time to leave.  On the bright side … now I have  a reason to travel to Moorpark and drink a beer!

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.

Car Show and Brewfest Ticket Giveaway!

Two (2) pair of  tickets will be given to two lucky HopHeadSaid Readers!

Click to visit official website.

How to enter and Rules:

  • You must be 21 to enter.
  • Leave a comment below that contains your real name and an e-mail address.  E-mail can be written like this: name[at]server[dot]com to help eliminate spam.
  • Only entries that contain an e-mail address and are time dated by 11:59 PM on September 6, 2011 will be in the running for the tickets.
  • Two entries will be picked at random and each entry will receive one pair of tickets.
  • The winners will be notified by e-mail on September 7th, 2011.
  • These tickets are for the event only and do not include any transportation costs, duh!

I have missed this event the last two years but I will be hanging out and handing out some HopHeadSaid schwag this year so be sure to track me down. I’ll be wearing my HopHeadSaid schwag, for sure!