Anaheim’s O.C. Fest of Ales skipped 2014, but it came back strong this year with hundreds of people packed into the Center Street Promenade.
Upon entry, patrons received a bottle opener, an 8-ounce tasting glass and a red bottle cap. With 40 breweries out with at least two beers on tap, that glass would get its fair share of 8-ounce refills.
With the red bottle cap, people could cast their vote with Yelp! on the best brew, and the winner would be posted on their Facebook and Twitter pages.
In addition to the breweries, 18 local restaurants were stationed with unlimited samples available, including Umami Burger and Crêpe Coop.
Philemon Dang, marketing manager for Crêpe Coop, said this festival is a great opportunity to get more diverse foot traffic at their location in the Anaheim Packing House.
“This is a totally different crowd,” Dang said. “I’ve been talking to a lot of older people who haven’t been to the Packing House that much, but maybe now they’ll be there.”
Umami Burger Lead Amanda Tebbetts said it’s the company’s first time at Fest of Ales, but as a local restaurant they’re excited to get their name out and be an active member of the community.
Designated drivers had discounted ticket prices and only paid $40 of the regular $70 ticket. And Hubert’s Lemonade was ready to serve designated drivers and designated drinkers alike.
Normally, Hubert’s Lemonade distributes 10 fluid ounce sample cups at events like this, but were approved to give the full 16 ounce glass bottles at the Fest of Ales.
“We’re the only non-alcoholic booth out here, so it’s been really nice being out here handing out these glass bottles for everyone to try,” said John Conti, a Hubert’s Lemonade employee. Conti said less than three hours into the event, only 50 bottles were left of the 500 they brought.
Being more than just food and beverage, the Fest of Ales hosted live music by The Rayford Brothers, a rockabilly, 50s rock-n-roll and 60s surf and soul band out of Los Angeles. Attendees also had games like cornhole and giant Jenga to start a friendly competition.
Two Anaheim residents, Patrick and Rosa Liskey, said it was their first time out at the Fest of Ales and described it as “fun, festive and very sociable” and as having “a lot of good-looking people.”
“This is more about people enjoying the camaraderie of the community,” said Kevin Orlowski, regional sales manager for Karl Strauss Brewing Company.
Anaheim resident Alex Parra has been at every Anaheim O.C. Fest of Ales and said as a home-brewer, it gives him a lot of inspiration.
“It gives me a lot of ideas to take back to my home brewery,” Parra said. “If I see a long line, I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m going to go try that beer,’ because I want to know what everyone likes.”
Jay Talley, president and founder of Legends Craft Brewery, said it was their first time at this event, but said there were a lot of sophisticated beer drinkers who appreciate good beer.
Legends had six beers on tap, the most popular being the Watermelon Belgian Wit. Talley said on a hot day like that one, that tap was going quick.
After skipping one year, devoted attendee Parra described the 3rd Annual Anaheim O.C. Fest of Ales as the best one yet, nearly perfect.