Tuesday, September 10, 2013

4th Annual OC Brew Ha Ha

Large maps make it easy for people to find their destinations!
Have you ever gone on a vacation and can't wait to go back?  That's how I feel about OC Brew Ha Ha.  Last year was the first time I had the opportunity to attend and I had an amazing time sampling beers.  I have eagerly been awaiting this year's Brew Ha Ha since the end of last year's event!

Gorgeous day for a beer festival!
OC Brew Ha Ha was once again held in the tranquil setting of Oak Canyon Park, although it is in an area that seems to be far away from any major cities, it is actually not far from the suburbs of the east side of the city of Orange.  A quick thirty minute drive from Anaheim and I arrived at the entrance.

A firetruck that serves beer!
Although the event was sold out, it never felt crowded throughout the day.  The longest line had two people in front of me, which of course moved so quickly I forgot there had been people in front of me!
Nothing beats hanging out with Dr. Bill and Stephen Johnson!
Off-duty firefighters were pouring beer, while helped to remind everyone in attendance that a portion of the ticket sales profits were set aside for the Fallen Fire Fighters Relief Fund.  Another benefit of having volunteers pour beer at the Brew Ha Ha is that it helped brewers and brewery employees, who were in attendance, to have more time to talk with attendees about their various beers.  It is always nice to be able to talk to the people that make the beer and to ask questions, if need be.
Matt Becker, Aaron Barkenhagen, and Armen Badalian
Over the course of the afternoon, Greg Koch, David Walker, Dr. Bill Sysak, and Ed Heethuis all took to the stage to impart their craft beer knowledge upon the festival attendees.  Matt Becker, John Holzer, and Stephen Johnson of New Brew Thursday asked beer trivia questions before introducing the last speaker of the day, Greg Koch.  The fellas of New Brew Thursday also handed out t-shirts for those who answered their questions correctly.
Greg Koch likes to talk about beer.
After the last speaker, the highlight of the day for me began...Reel Big Fish took the stage!  Orange County natives who also happen to love beer, Reel Big Fish obviously were having fun playing to the appreciative crowd.

Oh, hi, Reel Big Fish!

Beer + ska = skanking
Many breweries brought their standard line up of beer while some chose to bring special or limited release beers.  Throughout the day, I heard from several people that I needed to try the IPL from Ironside as well as Sierra Nevada's Flip Side.  They were among my favorites of the day along with El Segundo's Pale Ale.  Another highlight of the day was the collaboration beer made exclusively for OC Brew Ha Ha.  Bootlegger's Brewery, Cismontane Brewing, and Tustin Brewery came together to create an Imperial Red.  I'm always happy when I have a chance to try beers that I've never had before!

Ironfire's IPL is fantastic!

Besides beer, there was an great selection of food available at the OC Brew Ha Ha.  Food trucks along with stand alone restaurants brought their tasty treats to make sure everyone was well fed.  From The Viking Truck to Hopscotch Tavern, there was a wide variety of food to be found to please everyone.
Food trucks!
The organizers of OC Brew Ha Ha took an event that has had great success the past three years and made it even better.  They ensured that the brewery booths were spaced out well enough so that it did not feel crowded, even though more breweries attended this year then last year.  Just like last year, the weather was a bit on the warm side, but there were ample water stations throughout the event grounds as well as misting stations which helped to cool people off.

Thanks, OC Brew Ha Ha for a great event.  I can't wait for next year, I hope Reel Big Fish returns, cause nothing beats going to an amazing beer event with a rad band playing live music!
Erik Zwack, Matt Becker, and Scot Koury

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