Amid the heat last Saturday hundreds of attendees congregated on Lake View Park in Silverado, South Orange County, for the First Annual OC Brew Ha Ha Sabroso Craft Beer and Taco Fest.
Entry and Observations
OC Brew Ha Ha has been operating in Orange County since 2010 and provides attendees with an incredible, well run beer fest experience. Parking is ample, gate entry is fast, water is free and plentiful, rinsing stations were throughout, and the restrooms are easily accessible. About the only complaint I could raise is that finding the event was rather difficult. In the future I’ll definitely know the difference between 5305 Santiago (the actual address) rather than 5305 Silverado, which is easily 10 miles away.
Slightly angry that 20 miles and half an hour was wasted looking for the event grounds, I finally found the fest and trekked my way through the gate. We were provided our tasting glass, 4oz and emblazoned with the event logo and the logo of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. The company that runs Brew Ha Ha donates a portion of ticket sales to local charitable organizations. The Orange County Professional Firefighters Association is another frequent recipient of the company’s goodwill.
The main draw of the Sabroso Craft Beer and Taco Fest, aside from the plethora of fine beers was the gourmet tacos that were found throughout the event grounds. Orange County hotspots such as the Haven Collective, Hopscotch and Downtown Fullerton’s Slide Bar were out showcasing their culinary treats. Attendees with a mind to complement their meal were sent a pairing guide by “Dr.” Bill of Stone Brewing Co. Exacerbated from being late and the heat, I opted to instead run roughshod through the fest, engorging as I went along.
Playing to the motif, the event had several fun side adventures for attendees to enjoy. In the center of the grounds a wrestling ring showcased luchadores battling it out over the screams and cheers of the revelrous attendees. Wrestlers with names like “Cyanide,” “The Warrior” and “The Man” flung themselves from the ropes and corners in some impressive bouts while the announcer verbally abused (jokingly) the referee to the audience’s laughter.
The live band played covers throughout the fest, Santana was frequently heard throughout the fest; an appropriate sound track while noshing on carnitas tacos and sipping a Golden Road 329 Lager.
Other attractions included a mini-golf course, corn hole, and several games of giant jenga. Cigar aficionados could enjoy a good smoke over at the Gray Cloud tent. “Dr.” Bill, along with TAPS Fish House and Brewery will be hosting a cigar, gourmet food, and beer pairing event on June 7th in collaboration with Gray Cloud, more information for those interested can be found at GrayCloudPairings.com
Brew Ha Ha events typically leave you spoiled for choice in the brews available, and Sabroso was no exception to this. Over 60 beers were available to try from the roughly 30 breweries in attendance. Something to fit every taste was available. Being a fan of stouts I have to give my (completely subjective) Best in Show award to the Cask Leche Borracho by Bottle Logic, a milk stout aged with Tequila cask chips. An incredibly silky smooth brew with fine tequila notes from the oak chip aging. My hat is off to the folks at Bottle Logic in Anaheim; I’ve yet to have a beer produced by them that I have not fully enjoyed. Ballast Point also impressed by offering their Sea Monster Imperial Stout alongside their Sculpin IPA and Yellow Tail Pale Ale. Monk’s Lunch by Ritual was also a brew that stuck with me.
The aforementioned Golden Road 329 Pale Lager proved to be quite the thirst quencher. I rarely opt to drink light lagers but this recent introduction by Golden Road has left me intrigued. I imagine I will be buying packages of cans to enjoy by the pool as the summer months approach.
Of the tacos I sampled the runaway winner in my book was the Masubi Taco by ‘the kroft’ of Anaheim. Bite for bite, it’s panko breaded and fried Spam was absolutely sublime, complimented well by the pickled radish, green onion, and flat Asian sweet bread it was wrapped in. I could have wept when I found they were sold out when I went back for seconds. I’m told Kroft will be opening its doors at the end of the month, keep your eyes peeled for further information (available at thekroft.com). Stadium Brewing also impressed with their ahi tuna and avocado tacos; another treat of flavors that stuck with me after the fest.
Whether you prefer the bitterest of IPAs, the darkest of Imperial Stouts or the most aromatic of Belgian styles of beer, one thing that is for certain is that OC Brew Ha Ha does an excellent job of organizing a beer fest to enjoy the multitude of flavors that suit your taste. If you are in Orange County, or can make the trek, I highly recommend partaking in their events. Very well managed, clean, and accommodating for the attendees.
For more information on future events check OCBrewHaHa.com or follow the group on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/OCBrewHaHa). Future events include the Brew Hee Haw at the OC Fairgrounds, July 11-13th, as well as the Brew Ha Ha proper at the end of the summer. The OC Brew Ho Ho is also held by the group in December.
Gather some friends, find a ride, and enjoy some of the best beer fests Orange County has to offer.