LA Beerfest

LA Beerfest
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Type: Outdoors (Seasonal)
Category: Drink, Food
Company: Friends, Dates whose standards and/or inhibitions you want to lower
Cost: $40, plus minimal service charges

Quick-Rec: Multiple hours of all you can drink beer – GOOD beer, with hundreds of options. Despite large crowds, each individual beer line moves quickly, making this a great way to spend an afternoon.

OTC Tip: Depending on the weather, shorts and a t-shirt are your best bet. Just don’t wear anything white – beer WILL be spilled, either by you, a friend, or the random guy you just met but keep drunkenly toasting. Also, shoes are a much smarter idea than sandals, unless you enjoy pedicures in rivers of lager.

Review: Ok, so its called BEERFEST – if the name alone doesn’t make your liver hurt with excitement, then I probably can’t convince you. But just in case, here’s the skinny. Beerfest is an alcoholic’s dream event put on by Drink Eat Play, with multiple dates and locations in Southern California throughout the year. I recently attended the Los Angeles event at the Sony Studios in Culver City (where past LA Fests have occurred). Orange County also hosts an event, with the next one in May.

Upon arriving at the lot, my anticipation was put on hold as the line wrapped around multiple city blocks. After finally being let in, everyone was given a wristband and a plastic 4-ounce mug in which to imbibe with. But yet again, I had to wait, as a second waiting area formed until the main gates to beer heaven were opened. Expecting pure chaos once everyone was released to the beer, I was pleasantly surprised. There was neither pushing nor yelling; everyone was too busy reveling in the fun to cause trouble. There are enough beer tents to accommodate the large crowd, so the longest I ever had to wait for a beer was 5 – 10 minutes.

Now on to the beer pouring/drinking details. Each distributor at the event has a tent (or tents, depending on the brewery), complete with kegs and taps offering different types of brews – Hefeweizens, IPAs, Porters, etc. Lines form behind each tap or the tent itself; I never saw a line longer than 10 people, with the majority under 5. With the small size of the mug (4 ounces), my game plan was to fill up and stand in a line while finishing the beer, and repeat the process. However, after a dozen cycles, I realized this pace would kill me. I backed off and focused on finding new beers as well as the friends I lost. The Sony Studios consist of small alleys/streets which connect back to each other, so its easy to lose the group you are with. Massive amounts of beer made each reunion more boisterous and exaggerated as the day drew on.

When the time comes to coat your stomach with some quality greasy food, dozens of food trucks await at the entrance. Strangely, these consisted of the longest lines, but the much needed break helped fuel me for another 45 minutes of drinking. Be warned, toward the end of the event, breweries start running low on beer, so your options will dwindle. But its ok – at that point, you won’t be able to distinguish between a chocolate stout and a plum cider that you confused for real beer.

When the day finally wrapped and I found my group of disheveled friends, we tried to compare notes on beers we liked. I had a few blurry cell phone photos. (Later it was determined that the photos were crisp, but rather my eyes were playing tricks on me. Drunk tricks.) Some tents give out bottle openers and stickers, which made it easy to keep track of favorite beers. Side note – passing out relatively sharp bottle openers en masse to a hoard of drunken idiots isn’t always a smart idea. I was able to walk away from the event with a handful of new beers to try out, as well as a great experience spent outside with my friends on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I already have the next LA Fest in September (aptly named Septemberfest) marked on my calendar.

And of course, whenever drinking is involved, act responsibly and arrange for transportation other than driving a car. Walk, take a cab, run off all the calories, the options are endless. I would normally put something about how there were buses/shuttles for people, but I honestly have no clue. Blame the beer.

Next Beerfest: Block Party, July 30th


Jackie D said...

Holy schizer! I'm going with you next time, this is right up my alley :)

Amanda! said...

Beerfest is my favorite day of the year!! Not only is it my favorite day of the year...but it comes TWICE A YEAR!! P.S. if you decide to make pretzel necklaces....DONT EAT THE PRETZELS BEFORE YOU GET INSIDE!

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