I came. I drank. I conquered. Actually, the beer conquered me, but that’s a different story …
I’m referring to Santa Barbara’s 2012 Beer Festival, which took place on Oct. 20 at Elings Park. Although bright, gray clouds shrouded the Santa Barbara sun that day, beer lovers still flooded the park in droves around noontime, when the alcohol-induced festivities were set to begin. Activities went from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., and throughout the day, the fields were brimming with intoxicated bodies amidst the sounds of live music and chatter. A number of fest partakers donned pretzel necklaces, and some even wore German-inspired lederhosen and dirndls.
The festival, which is Santa Barbara’s oldest beer festival and is managed by the Santa Barbara Rugby Associated, hosted about 27 brewers and equipped each participant with a small beer-tester glass for the copious amounts of beer provided. One of the most notable beers of the day was Santa Barbara coast’s Island Brewing Company’s “Avocado Honey Ale,” which was sweet and yet, still had bite. The ale was made with 60 pounds of honey from bees kept in a local avocado orchard, which was added to honey malt and mixed with Island Brewing Company’s popular Kölsh yeast. Other brewers included Heretic Brewing Co. as well as Steelhead. Heretic showcased their West Coast IPA, “Evil Cousin,” a dark, bold and hoppy beer, while Steelhead provided the refreshingly light Mad River Extra Pale Ale.
The festival also provided food from Judge’s Sausage and New England’s Cabot Cheese, as well as music. Performers included Santa Barbara-based artists Kat Devlin, The Mailmen and Los Angeles-based band, The Green Almighty. Although the music served mostly as a background for beer drinking, plenty of Beer Fest goers huddled or mingled around the stage, while others chose to sway, clap and dance. Especially when the four hours of beer drinking was almost at its conclusion, tables were crowded with people munching down on drunchies or just taking a breather. Unfortunately, as the day progressed, beer made everyone’s bladders shrink into peanuts, so restroom lines looked more like endless rope draped across the grass; fortunately, good, intoxicated conversations ensued, which made lines bearable and even kind of enjoyable.
By the conclusion of the day, waves of people waddled out the gates back into the real world. I, personally, accidentally shattered my tester glass at the end of day, so obviously it was a good time.
Even in the hectic day-to-day lifestyle for most of us, what more do you need other than good company and good beer?