Just a quick write up about my first beer festival I’ve attended. There were plenty of good things and bad things, and I think nothing would be better to list those out than some super-wizard bullets point summaries!
- Beer! Unlimited beer!
- Free, close parking.
- Surprisingly short lines. I never waited more than a minute at any line to get a taster. Very efficient, effective setup.
- Live music – cool blues and classic rock, setting a laid back atmosphere.
- Food trucks – we tried different things from two different food trucks on site, and both of the meals were very good. A pleasant surprise.
- The weather. Not any fault of the fest, but it was easily 95 degrees the whole time we were there.
- Beer selection – I think is should have been labeled as the Fresno IPA Beer Fest. Of the approximately 50 beers there, over half were IPAs. Most others were blonde ales. There were no porters and exactly one stout. As you can probably tell from reading my posts, I much prefer those types of beers.
- Facilities – There were three gatorade-style water dispensers on a table away from the beer, and on a day nearing triple digit temperatures the water went incredibly fast. Less than two hours in, the water was gone, and never refilled before we left. The bathrooms were also terribly maintained, as the porta-potties were out of toilet paper, and the hand washing station was out of paper towels and soap nearly immediately. Not so cool for the missus.
- Knowledge of the staff – I think most of the people giving the tasters were employees of the venue, not people from the breweries. So, if I wanted details about a particular beer, the people at the stand essentially read from the bottle. The only people who appeared to be repping their brewery was a guy from Green Flash Brewing, as well as the people from Riley’s (worth noting that Apcal is their semi-official point of sale).
I am happy I got to experience a beer festival here in the Valley, but I was a little underwhelmed. For the $62 price of admission ($31 a piece), I could have bought a huge variety of beer myself, hung out at home with the AC, and learned more online about the beer than from the staff at Apcal. I’m sure there are better beer festivals in southern California, or in the central coast, and hopefully I’ll get to one at some point. I guess if a had the give it a score, it would be about a 5/10.