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Enjoying the 4th Annual South Bay Beer & Wine Festival

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Despite the heat, the crowds of people who descended upon LA’s South Bay area for a beer and wine festival had a great time on Sunday.

 

 

With a sold-out event, the fourth annual South Bay Beer and Wine Festival was filled with people braving the heat to enjoy the offerings of wineries and dozens of breweries. Presented by the Rotary Clubs of El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula, and South Bay Sunrise, the South Bay Beer and Wine Festival (SBBWF) took place at Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates.

 

As opposed to last year’s SBBWF, the set-up was arranged in such a way that the breweries, wineries, and other vendors were all mixed in with each other. Last year’s SBBWF separated wineries from breweries, etc., so that those interested in wine knew where to go and those that were interested in the breweries (such as myself) went there. This year’s arrangement seemed to encourage attendees to explore all around. For instance, after having one’s souvenir glass filled with beer or wine, one could check out the silent auction or art vendors’ wares. While it made it more difficult to track down the breweries (look, I was clearly interested in the beer), it did make it more interesting to see which other vendors were there (including juice companies, food vendors, and more).

 

One of the nice things about SBBWF is the relatively short lines (at least for the breweries), since not everyone is there for the beer (some are there for the wine). The long lines occurred at the food vendors, but for those of us focused on the beer, that made for more ability to consume lots of beers. Most of the 30+ breweries brought at least two beers to pour and, in some cases, had four that they were pouring. While many of the breweries were from the South Bay area, from LA, or Orange County, there were some from further away, as well.

 

As to the beers being poured, I was pleasantly surprised to see many IPAs and even several DIPAs being poured, which was great to see. Also commonly poured were pilseners and wheat beers, which were also great for those interested in such beers (and for the warm weather). I was happy also to see a couple of sour beers poured (Phantom Carriage’s Broadacres and Avery’s Apricot Sour), as well as a number of delectable saisons (Brouwerij West’s Dog Ate My Homework, Phantom Carriage’s Potage #2, and Cellador Ales’ Saison Blend and Blackberry Atavism), perfect for the warm weather.

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There were very few dark beers offered, perhaps owing to the intense heat of the day, but Riip Brewing was pouring a porter of theirs. The only stout I saw was also the only imperial stout or Bourbon barrel-aged beer: Firestone Walker’s Parabola, their Bourbon barrel-aged Russian imperial stout, which was smooth, creamily delicious, and delectably boozy (at 14.5%, the booze was inescapably noticeable). Firestone Walker also had three other lovely beers, one of which was their Fortem DIPA (8.2%) and another being their newly-released Luponic Distortion #6 IPA.

 

One person noted to me that, despite there being a lot of people drinking at SBBWF, there didn’t seem to be anyone who was noticeably drunk there. This doesn’t always occur at beer festivals, so it seemed to be more of a casual, happy event. As to the demographics, it was great to see a wide variety of ages, from people in their 20s up into their 60s or 70s, providing a good degree of age diversity.

 

Having mentioned the heat, it did dissipate after the first couple of hours, leaving the second couple of hours still warm but at least not crazily hot. One thing I would suggest to improve this very solid festival would be to have water stations. Between the alcohol and the heat, hydration is definitely a need. Although I saw some vendors supplied with bottles of water, it would have been nice for water to have been more commonly available for participants. Nevertheless, it was a really enjoyable event.

 

 

Once again, I enjoyed the SBBWF and I hope it continues going strong next year.

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Guest Tuesday, 22 August 2017

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