San Diego Brewers Guild Festival | The Start of a Beautiful Beer Week

November 6, 2011

San Diego Beer Week began its 3rd incarnation with an unprecedented Brewers Guild Festival, featuring rocking live music, food offerings from many local businesses and food trucks, and of course, samplings of all the beer you can swallow from almost every brewery in the area.  Did I mention it was like 80 degrees and beautiful?  Gotta love San Diego!

The opening kick-off event for this year’s Beer Week was the San Diego Brewers Guild Festival, which took place on Saturday November 5, 2011 from 1pm-5pm at Ingram Park in Liberty Station.  For $35 ($40 at the door) guests received a commemorative taster cup and unlimited samples from all of San Diego's breweries—making it a great one-stop shop to try all of our city's finest brews! There were several local food trucks at the event, including Super Q and Groggy’s Fat Sandwiches, as well as food offerings from local eateries including Gaglione Bros’ Cheesesteaks and Pubcakes.  There were two separate stages and great music throughout the day, including a stand out set by San Francisco’s Stone Foxes.

From 11am-1pm there was a VIP event with complimentary food and beer pairings and the chance to meet with the brewers and taste exclusives beers.  VIP tickets quickly sold out as they were $55 ($60 at the door) and included admission for the general session as well. The highlight of the day for me was not the beer, but the food sample offered by the new Point Loma burger spot, Slater’s 50/50 Restaurant – named because some of their patties are formed with 50% ground beef, and 50% ground bacon – OH YEA!!!  Slater’s offered VIP members (and all other while supplies lasted) a chance to sample their Peanut Butter & Jealousy burger – a ground beef patty, topped with a thick cut of bacon, and surrounded by peanut butter and jelly, and served on a honey wheat bun.   While many less adventurous attendees scoffed at the “unorthodox” combination, I welcomed it and found it to be glorious.  Slater’s – I’ll be in touch.

As for the beer, there were more samplings offered than I imagined had even existed in the San Diego beer community.  Ballast Point, Green Flash, and Stone Brewing all kept long lines of eager enthusiasts, but for me, the highlight was the Hoppulent Double IPA from Pacific Beach Alehouse.  This Indian pale ale was strong but smooth, and filled with hoppy goodness.

Now for a critique, next year, organizers should consider different options for serving food samples, as the waste cans filled up fast.  In this day and age, event planners for food tasting outings should contemplate both the environment and the impact that such trash output has on our ecosystem.  In addition, spittoon-type pour pots for samples that people did not prefer would be a welcomed convenience, as by the end of the event, people were just dumping their unfinished beers right on the grass or directly in the trash.

In total, the San Diego Brewers’ Guild Festival was a most entertaining event that took place on a beautiful, sunny, San Diego day.  I will be sure to mark my calendar for next year, as I can only imagine that this event will continue to improve year after year.  You should do the same :)