Attending BierBuzz’ Fourth Annual Masquerade Beer Festival
With the fascinating feeling of walking into an arena for a beer festival, this past Saturday’s Fourth Annual BierBuzz Masquerade (see here for a post I wrote for BierBuzz) provided attendees with a special experience. In addition to the grand feeling of entering such an open space, the element of gazing upon dozens, if not hundreds, of fellow festivalgoers, many of whom were costumed, provided a special atmosphere in the week leading up to Halloween. The arena, which was perhaps designed for a rodeo or other such shows, provided the festival with a pleasant spaciousness, leaving a comfortable amount of space for people to mingle with fellow attendees. A stage on one side of the arena was enlivened by live music, provided by The Union Drifters, with the remaining space of the arena being ringed by breweries’ tents.
These breweries’ booths all provided attendees with at least two of their brews, meaning there were over eighty options of beers to taste. Moreover, as opposed to some beer festivals, there was no limit of how many beers one could taste, except for what time would allow. Some festivalgoers had to forgo filling up the entirety of their BierBuzz souvenir festival mini-mugs in order to try as many beers as they could (such as my drinking compadre and me). When in doubt, however, they could resort to walking over to one of the several troughs in the middle of the arena set-up for pouring out one’s beers.
Arriving late to a beer festival – okay, not late, but with only 45 minutes remaining – on a Saturday night, my drinking companion and I tried to be as efficient as possible as we could with our consumption of beer. As only my second beer festival I had attended in Southern California, it was neat to see dozens of Southern Californian breweries represented, as well as breweries from out-of-state (and from Northern California). While many of the more than forty breweries represented were from Southern California, especially from the Inland Empire, there were also breweries from out-of-state, such as Abita Beer, Alaskan Brewing, Goose Island Beer Co., and New Belgium Brewing.
While many of the breweries had the opportunity to showcase their standard fare, many breweries, fittingly for the season, brought one or two seasonal beers, most of which were pumpkin-flavored, such as Hangar 24’s Gourdgeous Local Fields, Brew Rebellion’s Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, and New Belgium’s Pumpkick.
While we had a limited time, I didn’t worry about trying to get my money’s worth – we were guests 😉 Nevertheless, receiving a souvenir cup from which to drink and with over 80 beers to try in less than an hour, we tried to be swift in our drinking endeavor. My drinking compadre had flown into California less than a week ago from Israel, where he had been a brewer for a few years. While we hadn’t known each other well, we sought to make swift work of our beer-drinking. Although the first couple of pours for us filled up our tasting cups, we realized we needed to go for 1/3 pours; well certainly less than half-pours. In the end, I end up drinking 19 different beers, which was pretty good.
While I will list below the beers at the end that I drank, some stand-outs for me were Knee Deep Brewing’s Breaking Bud, which was a delicious IPA, Saint Archer’s Double IPA, Phantom Ales Flying Brick Double IPA, Angel City Brewery’s IPA, Karl Strauss’ Flagpoint Alvira with Kiwi, which was a delicious sour, and both of Brew Rebellion’s beers. I had never heard of Brew Rebellion before, but they have two locations in Southern California and I am really intrigued by the two beers of theirs – their S’mores Porter with Habañero, a rich porter, and their Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, an ale (I think).
Here is a listing of the beers I drank, in order of my tasting them, with assorted tasting notes and ABVs:
Einstök Ölgerd Icelandic Toasted Porter
Einstök Ölgerd Baltic Porter with Icelandic Roasted Coffee (6.0% ABV)
Knee Deep Brewing Breaking Bud – IPA – delicious
Knee Deep Brewing Lupulin River – IIPA – malty backbone, still hoppy
Abita Brewing Wrought Iron IPA (7.7% ABV)
Abita Brewing Strawgator – Strawberry double bock (8.0% ABV) Deliciously strawberry
Firestone Walker Pivo hoppy pils – Pleasant, hoppy
Hangar 24 Gourdgeous Local Fields – Pumpkin -Pumpkin spice
Saint Archer Double IPA 8.3 – delicious, tropical fruits
Angel City Brewery IPA – Awesome, piney, very grapefruity, delicious
Sierra Nevada – Oktoberfest – Apple juice-y
Brew Rebellion S’mores Porter with Habañero – Rich porter with prominent chocolate notes, with habañero kicking in at the end. Awesome!
Brew Rebellion Chocolate Pumpkin Pie – Made with real pumpkin. Really good, smooth, tasty and yummy!
Phantom Ales Jurassic Lager (5.0% ABV) With Simcoe and nugget. Sweet and apple juice-y.
Phantom Ales Flying Brick Double IPA (8.2% ABV) Yummy, smooth,
Karl Strauss Flagpoint Alvira with Kiwi Sour Delicious tart
New Belgium Pear Ginger Beer – Sweet, calm, and ginger
New Belgium Pumpkick – Pumpkin, but what is remarkable is that it had a light body with its effervescence, unlike other pumpkin ales
No Clue Brew Honey Blonde – Sweet and yummy
No Clue Brew Oat No You Didn’t
It was a tremendously cool and enjoyable beer festival!