On Dec. 7th the 2nd Annual OC Brew Ho Ho at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, CA took place despite the unusually wet weather and merriment was had by all. This is one of my favorite events all year but I might be a little biased because it was on my birthday weekend (I just turned 30…scary I know) and to me it signifies the start of the holiday season. I am always impressed by the OC Brew Ha Ha/Ho Ho events because they just get it right and put on the most organized, fun, beertastic events I have ever been to.
The event featured over 50 different craft beers and 30+ different craft breweries in attendance. Some of the most exciting were the new local breweries that will be opening in the beginning of 2014 and everyone got the chance to taste their anticipated beers. Bottle Logic coming soon to Anaheim, CA showcased some very well-made milk stouts (which is one of my favorite styles) and an impressive ginger saison. Ginger beer can be overly aggressive and overwhelm the palate but this beer was very well-balanced and tasty. It’s surprising because I am not a huge ginger fan…it has to be done very well otherwise I make the “yuck” face…and nobody wants to see the yuck face. Another brewery coming soon to Anaheim is Hoparazzi Brewing Company that will be featuring some of the most exciting barrel-infused sour beers to be brewed locally. They had a peach sour beer that you had to ask to get at the event but it was so worth it. It was a nice break for my palate after all the dark, sweet, coffee beers I had been tasting.
The other beers I really enjoyed was the White Russian beer by Noble Ale Works and the collaboration beer created for the event The Ghost of Jacob Barley by Beachwood BBQ Brewing and Noble Ale Works. Noble has blown-up in 2013 and they are by far one of the most exciting breweries to watch in 2014 because they continue to surprise with interesting and innovative beers. Not to mention the brewery is really close to my house, which makes them geographically convenient. Seriously, their White Russian beer was on cask and was still perfect temperature and tasted exactly like a White Russian cocktail. It was damn delicious. The Dude would be proud.
The event didn’t just offer beer, albeit a strong draw for the event, but they offer great local food trucks and little pop-up shops for early Christmas shopping. They had several cute t-shirt stands and a cool candle shop that made candles in cut beer bottles. On top of all that, they had famous DJ Richard Blade of the LA Station KYSR (Star 98.7), originally as host of a Saturday night “Totally 80’s” program and short features in the afternoon drive-time period. He succeeded in being the life of the party inside the tented area, amping-up the crowd with well-liked dance tunes keeping the party going all day long. He also helped me succeed in getting some awesome dance pics so thanks for that! Santa was also there to pose for pics and give kisses to the crowd spreading the holiday cheer.
One of the best things you can do at the OC Brew Ho Ho event is people watch. People really get into the Christmas spirit and dress-up in fun costumes and let their inhibitions wash away with the rain and get weird. It’s a good weird, mostly. I had so much fun meeting new people and chatting with beer friends that I wished the event was longer but I suppose things would’ve gotten really weird if we were allowed to burn the evening oil. One thing I really appreciate about these events is they allow people to wind-down for an hour after the beer stops flowing and also the option to leave their cars and get them by noon the following day so everyone is safe. There is also cold water and food available for people to keep their beer levels in check and a free breathalyzer station to check yourself before you wreck yourself…ha!
Thanks again for the great time and I hope to see you all there again next year!