Wednesday, April 23, 2008

2nd Annual Raley Field Brewfest

When: May 24, 1:00-4:30 PM
Where: Raley Field, Sacramento Ca (just off the I-5)
Price: $25 in Advance, $30 at the Door
Buy Now!

This is a premier brew festival in Northern California and the proceeds go toward the Northern California Brewers Guild. Last year, in the events inaugural swing, there were more than 30 brewers in attendance. This year Glynn Phillips, President of the guild, says there are 43 brewers committed and he expects there will be more than 50 when the event happens.

For those keeping score at home, last week's World Beer Cup saw Northern California brewers bring home a lot of medals. In fact, there were 14 different breweries in the region that were recognized for their product - on a global scale. You can expect to see the big guns here, Trumer, Gordon Biersch, Sierra Nevada, Bear Republic, Moylan's, Drake's, 21st Amendment, and many more (including SacBrew and Rubicon, two local brewers that won medals at CBC). What you won't see here are any beers made outside of Northern California, this is a celebration of our beer scene after all. With the location and promotion of last year's event, Phillips says he got a lot of calls from brewers around the country wanting to get in, but the guild (Phillips especially) is set on limiting this event to pouring only the great beers of the region. That doesn't suck.

So, just where does the money go? The NCBG is a young organization, and with the proceeds from last year they were able to secure their 501C6 tax license as well as get the guild members beer to San Diego for last week's Craft Brewers Conference, where it was enjoyed by brewers, distributors and writers from around the world. Phillips says "It's about helping people understand that Northern California makes the best beer in the world". This year's proceeds aren't set in stone, but will likely go toward purchasing some high-end measuring equipment most small brewers can't afford. This equipment will be shared by the guild members, ensuring their beers are consistent and of top quality.

Connoisseur Pass

Admittedly, the lines at Raley Brewfest are minimal. Really, you're not going to wait more than a few seconds for a beer. However, there are clearly enough people there to make it hard to get a word in with a brewer, they'll say hi and be polite, but there are thousands of people there! Well, if you want more face time, spend the extra cash and buy a Connoisseur Pass, which gets you in an hour early and allows you the chance to meet the brewers! There are only a few hundred of these tickets available, and to be honest I don't know how much they are, but given that they're apparently selling like hot-cakes, I suspect the price isn't too high.

Note: This may be listed as a VIP Pass or something other than Connoisseur.

The Other Stuff

Of course, no beer festival would be complete without food, and this year's event will have plenty. Food won't ever be the highlight of a beer festival for me (at least I hope not), but I remember having a great ball-park sausage last year, loaded with grilled onions and green peppers - great with Trumer Pils! There's certainly more than sausage dogs, but I wouldn't hold your breath for smoked salmon in a cream sauce topped with capers.

Like last year, the RFBF will be giving away a Kegerator this year. Don't worry, you won't be required to buy extra raffle tickets, your ticket to get in will put you in the drawing!