This last weekend I spent the afternoon reveling with brilliant people of the craft beer world and those in appreciation of said craft beer at Slater’s 50/50 Backyard Brewfest in Lake Forest, CA. It was a balmy, partly cloudy day in So Cal when I arrived to a small event located in a parking lot behind the stores off Rockfield and Lake Forest drive. I expected a larger event and larger crowd from all the press, but at the end I really enjoyed how relaxed the event was mostly due to not being wall-to-wall people. Warning: I took something like 250 photos of this event and I got it down to like 40 so enjoy all the photos. I couldn’t help myself.
I entered the rectangle event space and have a nice chat with taphunter.com about the cool stuff they offer for all the local bar/restaurant owners and then I’m off to find my friends and Sean (my fiance), who was working the event for Hangar 24. There was a great selection of breweries and craft beer there. It was pretty impressive. I saw Ballast Point pouring Victory at Sea, and of course, Hangar 24 was pouring Hammerhead (13.8%ABV) and Palmero(7%ABV). I know I talk a lot about Hangar, but they always go above and beyond at events. They had the most employee presence and their draft truck and shade tent. I think it was very appreciated by the crowd.
I really enjoyed the Wolf Among The Weeds IPA from Golden Road Brewing Company (8%ABV) and the secret growler of black session ale they had. I discovered Ohana Brewing Company out of LA and I loved all their beers. I especially loved their sour they had secretly pouring out of a bottle for people who asked for it. I gabbed about it to fellow beer lovers later that evening and the consensus was that WE LOVE OHANA! I can’t wait to try more of your beers.
The food was impressive and I liked that it was included in the ticket price. I had the 1/4 of Slater’s burger with bacon and an egg and it was really good. I also got to try the salmon taco from Chapter One: The Modern Local which was very good. It went really fast.
There was two gripes about the event:
1. Plastic cups for an unlimited beer event. Meaning, every beer you got was in a new plastic mini-cup and you would be wasting several cups during the event because they claimed the ABC laws wouldn’t allow them to have the commemorative pint glasses be on the black-top pavement. I get that, but why couldn’t they have plastic commemorative cups similar to OC Beer Fest?
2. NO WATER!! Yes I am being serious. There was no water at this event. The only water was for designated drivers and even the coolers stationed at the cooking booths were only for cooks to wash their hands with and not for drinking. I complained and I got ONE water bottle, which I shared with my several friends at the event. If I had known, I would have brought a cooler full of water to store at the Hangar booth for people. If you are planning an unlimited beer tasting event, you need to supply the attendees with water, period. If you don’t, you are asking for people to get drunk, dehydrated, and sloppy. Inevitably, some people were a little sloppy. The one saving grace is I complained to Sean and he complained to his boss who complained to the manager at the Lake Forest Slater’s who immediately started having his employees bring trays of water out to people. I really recognize the swift action taken and see it as a sign of good management.
Despite the minor gripes, I loved going to the event. It was well laid-out ant the beers were top-notch. Good job to Slater’s and Taphunter.com for their first event together in Lake Forest and I hope to see continued involvement in future events in Orange County. If you went to the event let me know your thoughts!