What an amazing event. OC Brew HaHa 2013 is over now and when I reflect on the day I am filled with memories that make me smile. I always know I had a good time when I took way too many photos. I was stuck with almost 500 photos to edit (I did it to myself) and managed to get it down to something like 60, which is still a lot of photos.
The day was hot and sunny with temps reaching the high 90’s. The heat was combated as best as possible with several mister stations along with mister cables strung across the location, cold water stations everywhere, and plenty of shady areas and seating. Besides the heat making me sweat profusely, the whole day was wonderful. I really felt like the people who put this event on revolved everything around the experience of the attendee and not about what was convenient or cost-effective or easy. Here’s why:
1. If you had too much to drink and had driven yourself to the event, you could leave your car there and come and get it the next day. They wanted everyone to be safe, and that was so refreshing. So many events also kick people out of the event right after last call, not giving people a chance to sober-up and eat or have water. This event had a hour grace-period after the event ended for people to filter out at their own pace. So smart.
2. Water was everywhere, and always super cold. I have been to a lot of beer events and never has the water been so damn cold and refreshing. It makes a difference, it really does.
3. There was no long lines because there was enough vendors to people. There was a good amount of food trucks, and the beer tents were spaced so people never seemed to bunch-up and create a long line. Beer was accessible almost instantly at any booth I walked-up to.
4. There was a lot of seating and shade, especially around the food and stage which makes the most sense. I also would randomly feel cold mist and realized the cable misters were everywhere.
5. The hand-out gave you a map of the event with the speaker times and basically all the FAQ’s you could want. It was so great to have a comprehensive guide! They also had a downloadable version to have on your phone, even though the service out there is spotty at best.
6. I found parking almost immediately, and close to the event entrance.
I got to see Greg Koch from Stone Brewing Co. and David Walker from Firestone Walker speak and Reel Big Fish perform. I am a ska lover so it was awesome to see Reel Big Fish again (yes, I have seen them before) but it’s always great to see them. Their energy is so high and it was so cool to see so many people skanking hard despite the heat!
But how was the beer? It was amazing, and there was so many choices! I had the Mikkeller Big Worse, Epic Pumpkin Porter, Refuge Whit, etc. I also participated in beer geek island again this year, and it was such a fun way to end the event. Bottle share in a beer event, we must be crazy.
Side note: the New Brew Thursday trivia was really fun. It was great to see people running to give their answers in hopes to win a t-shirt. That needs to happen more with more questions! Also, it was awesome to see Ron Bland (OC Beer Society) and his new venture of The Brew House getting some exposure. I can’t wait for his place to open! The Bottle Logic crew was really fun to talk to and I am filled with excitement to taste their beer and see their tap room! They are scheduled to open in Anaheim, CA the end of October (estimated?) and I couldn’t be more delighted!