Anaheim, CA is stepping-up their game. In strides to make Anaheim more of a beer destination, OC Fest of Ales was born. The festival was a food and beer partnership in the Promenade of Downtown Anaheim.
The location couldn’t be better. A seemingly private street surrounded by shops and businesses and museums cradles the event, and I was so happy to see a parking structure with ample parking. So many times has parking been such a pain. I’ve been unprepared (shoe or outfit-wise) to walk a mile to an event because of a crappy parking situation. Hooray for the parking structure! I do also love how organized the booths and the beer were separated from the food trucks with the tickets and wristband tent in the center of the two.
There were some awesome breweries featured. I was happy to see Bravery Brewing there, and their bitter beer was fantastic. My beer colleges agreed that Bravery had some awesome beers pouring. I was happy to see my friends at Packinghouse with their ever-loved IPA brewed by Matt Becker. Old Orange and Noble and The Bruery were there as well, pouring their wonderful offerings. I snatched-up the chance to get a taste of The Bruery’s Sans Paige (even though I’ve had it before…) at a beer event.
The VIP package was also impressive. The VIP ticket purchase comes with a VIP wristband and a goody bag that includes: a souvenir glass, a bottle opener, magnets, a koozie, a beer bread mix, a beer tasting booklet, a pencil and a t-shirt. That is quite possibly the most I have ever received in return for a VIP pass. That doesn’t even cover the crazy bounty of food and beer pairings in the VIP section.
The food in the VIP section was to die for. The maple bacon chicken wings from Out of the Park Pizza were salty and sweet and cooked perfectly. The ribs and potato salad from Brew Hawg were phenomenal. I feel like potato salad is hard to impress with but Brew Hawg’s potato salad was peppery and tangy and wonderful. The rib was thick and sweet and spicy with a dry rub that got all over my face but I didn’t mind. I embraced the mess on my face because the rib was worth it. Slater’s 50/50 was getting fancy making burgers with a fried egg on top. Brewcakes made cupcakes with a caramel vanilla frosting of which, gasp, you could see the vanilla beans in. I know, shocking! Hey, you guys don’t know how expensive vanilla beans can be, so for a larger bakery that’s pretty good. The cupcakes were a little too sweet for me, but it was a good cupcake. I am a teeny bit biased, so take my opinion on baked goods with a grain of salt…get it? Ha.
My favorite food of the day was something I paid happily for, a corndog from the Viking Truck. Perhaps it was my enjoyment of shoving it in people’s faces or maybe because it was THE BEST DAMN CORNDOG I HAVE EVER HAD. Viking Truck won the people’s choice of OC Food Trucks so well deserved, Viking Truck. Next time I will have to try your other sausages.
I had fun hanging out with my buddies at Hangar 24, Greg from OC Beer Blog and his lovely wifey & friends, Matt from Packinghouse, Derek Bougie from NB Brew Co., Bradley Daniels and his wife from Peace Brewing, Armen and Amber, and many more beer people. Nice job Anaheim, thanks for putting together a great beer festival. I hope to see you next year at the OC Fest of Ales!