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I-15 Brew Festival

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The craft beer movement is slowly but surely taking roots in what used to be a destination primarily known for its various wineries.

Breweries such as Refuge, Ironforge and Aftershock have made their homes in Temecula over the last 5 years, so it only makes sense that the area is finally becoming a home for larger scale beer events. When BierBuzz® heard that the I-15 Brew Festival was being held in Temecula, we were more than excited to check it out.
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The first year of any festival is always interesting because first impressions are everlasting. What kind of identity would the 1-15 Brew Festival forge for itself? Many of the attendees were curious, and when asked their opinions on what they were expecting, funny things were said such as:

“Nothing ever happens in Temecula so this is awesome!”

“Is this going to be a rave?”

The last quote might seem a little out of place, but after seeing the gigantic DJ console smack dab in the middle of the Galway Downs field, I too wondered the same thing.
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The I-15 Brewfest had a ‘fair’ type of vibe to it. Besides the 60 breweries present (with many from Temecula), there were plenty of good eats and vendors selling all types of goods. Being a sucker for cool hats, my favorite booth had to be the Hoppy Beer Hoppy Life apparel booth and their stylish snapbacks. The brand originated in 2012, and the owners are clearly passionate about craft beer which can be seen through both the branding of their product and their demeanor when discussing anything beer.
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As an alternative to only trying sponsored breweries, various homebrew groups such as Brewluminati, Beer & Pussycats and Riverside Home Brew Crew were also on site generously sharing their latest concoctions.
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The decision to host the festival from 6-10PM was a nice touch. By this time the weather was absolutely perfect, and the sunset welcomed streaks of neon as attendees and performers alike began activating their glow sticks and light devices. Meanwhile, more and more people began migrating towards center field gathering around the DJ set up. Was the "rave" about to begin? Not quite.

It turned out that people were gathering for one of the most interesting attractions at the I-15 Brew Festival this year: The Specialty Entertainers.
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Sideshow acts such as sword swallowers, contortionists, and jugglers randomly walked the field throughout the day displaying incredible feats. At first people looked confused to see this type of entertainment at a beer festival, but as the day went on people warmed up to the idea and a large group gathered around the DJ set up for the fire breathing performance. 
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Things went from surprising, to just plain bizarre at some points, but it was plain to see that people were really enjoying themselves.

For a first year event, I was very impressed with how the I-15 Brew Festival turned out. Temecula breweries got their chance to shine, and the experimental choice to include the sideshow performers is what made the event memorable for me. Best of all, proceeds of the event went to Michelle's Place which is a breast cancer research center.
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With a strong first year showing, I look forward to seeing how the I-15 Brew Festival will evolve and improve next year.

Cheers!

Brian Funes

Contributing Editor

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Guest Wednesday, 26 July 2017

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