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The 2nd Annual OC Fest of Ales event was a wonderful event filled with fantastic food, amazing beer, and great people. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect with the sunny sky and a break in the recent heat wave. It was nice to not be melting in the heat at a beer event.

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I found parking immediately and proceeded to check-in for my wristband. I was handed a “swag bag” which was actually a drawstring backpack (genius!) that contained the latest issue of The Westcoaster So Cal and a OC Fest of Ales bottle opener necklace and coozie. I had my ID checked and was handed a tasting glass and released into the event full of excitement. The food trucks were first along the street with some local business booths, then it opened-up to the Hangar 24 truck across from the giant jenga game and live music stage. It was awesome to hear a favorite Wanda Jackson song playing as I sipped my Oktoberfest by Hangar 24 pondering my next move.

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I decided to explore the entire event first before I circled back to plan my beer stops considering I wasn’t going to have them all. Of course, plans always seem to go out the window because I run into friends and get distracted. I really enjoyed the Old Rat English style old ale (8.7%ABV) by Bravery Brewing. It was not overly sweet and had a fantastic balance of malt and rye flavors. The always tasty Naughty Sauce (5.5% ABV) was poured at Noble Ale Works booth prompting a line of eager fans bolstering a pour of the golden goodness. Damn, I love that beer.

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OC Fest of Ales

Brian Avery (Bravery Brewing), Evan Price (Noble Ale Works), Matt Becker (NBT, The Bruery)

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Apparently I am not alone in my love for Noble because they won the Mayor’s Trophy for best brewery. I actually got to meet the Mayor of Anaheim, Tom Tait, who was awesome and was the most normal and down-to-earth politician I have ever had a conversation with. Mr. Tait announced the winners of the homebrew competition with Bradley Daniels and Spencer Colman (both avid homebrewers). The winner for best in show was Darren Shelton for his Strong Scotch Ale which will be brewed at Noble Ale Works.

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I missed the 5k because…well… I slept-in that morning. From what I heard the winner, Matthew Klein, kicked-ass and killed everyone else’s time. My fiance was driving the pace truck for the race and said it was difficult at times to stay in front of him because he was so fast! It was really entertaining to see everyone from the race at the event with all their fun costumes and crazy pants. Nothing like a detox and re-tox, right?

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After the winner announcement I wandered over to the VIP area for some food.  I enjoyed a corned beef sandwich from Tony’s Deli, short rib jerky from Hopscotch and 1/4 burger from Slater’s 50/50. The corned beef sandwich was great, I loved the bread with the caraway seeds. There was whispers about the short rib jerky from Hopscotch.. “I’ve already had like 5 of those things…I wish I could stuff more in my mouth at one time….It will haunt my dreams…” so needless to say I was really intrigued by the time I actually ate one. It was amazing…it was juicy and not dry while being spicy and sweet and unctuous. They apparently offer this as an appetizer at the restaurant, so I won’t have to suffer night sweats going through my jerky withdrawal. Plus, I was just there for their cocktail preview recently and the salmon salad was simply amazing and so damn delicious. I want one right now. Literally my stomach is growling in protest.

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The Jerky!!!!

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Overall the event was put-together extremely well and very thoughtful. I can’t wait to try the scotch ale brewed by Noble and Darren, I am sure it will be superb. Cheers to all the volunteers who made this event spectacular and I am looking forward to next year!

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