California Homebrew Festival!!!
Camaraderie abounds at the great CHA festival, centered on a popular solvent, BEER! Homebrewers come together at Vail Lake RV Resort for the annual event of giving and tasting beer made by their club members. Welcoming all walks of life, the festival is filled with variety and creativity.
Just a few miles away from the wineries of Temecula, lays Vail Lake RV Resort, a large campground/RV Park. Oak groves shade campers, wildflowers entice the eye, and pollen is everywhere. The festival consists of 40 booths staged atop a grassy field toward the back of the campground. Each booth represents a Southern Californian Homebrew club. Our club, the OC Mashups, brought over 20 beers to the festival, each made by one or more of our club members.
Friday night the beer drinking commences with a few established local breweries and some homebrew clubs pouring their experimental beer. Among them was Barley Forge, Costa Mesa, pouring an electric Sour Papaya beer and Riip, Huntington Beach, with a smooth stout on tap. Some homebrew setups had the same polish as the established breweries and others were of a simpler nature.
Saturday, it’s all day and all homebrew. With so many booths and who knows how many gallons of beer, you’ve got to pace yourself! We chose to go to the festival in the morning, try some beer, help out behind our booth, and then back to the campsite for some rest and relaxation. Getting out of the blazing sun and drinking some water, sobered us up a bit for more beer tasting at night.
I was impressed with the selection, quality, and presentation of the homebrew beer. So much beer to try and so little time! A sweet stout poured through coffee beans, a sour apricot leaving a 5 minute pucker, zinging limoncello mead were some of my highlights of the day. Some clubs specialize in one type of beer like the Société du Lambic (Lambic/sour beers), while others offer 40 taps of IPA's, stouts, barley wines, and many other types. Dressed in kilts, Star Wars apparel (May 4th is Stars Wars Day in California), and beer cozy necklaces, homebrewers are as diverse as the beer they brew. It’s a homebrewers dream of a Beer Festival.