5 Reasons I can’t wait for next year’s Shelton Bros Festival
The showcase at this year’s festival was tremendous and great beer was plentiful. Cantillon, Tre Fontane, Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co, Fireston Walker, Jester King, and Bagby Beer were all great reasons to go. Breweries were pouring their A game, and some even brought special bottles for the true beer geeks.
**Special mention to Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co’s exceptional Mars Hotel, their 100% Lactobacillus steel fermented pale ale with fresh Mosaic hops. It was a show stopper for me and from a brewery I’m not familiar at all with. I’m looking forward to visiting the next time I’m in the area.
2. Multiple Sessions
There were not one, not two, not three, but four sessions total for the festival. Each session was theoretically the same, but Saturday’s event day housed the who’s who in the craft beer scene. Beer media, brewers, and other craft personalities congregated over great beer and camaraderie.
3. The Location
San Pedro may not be convenient for everyone in Los Angeles, but depending on where you are located, it’s really not that hard to get to. For me, in Inglewood, I was there in 30 minutes with little to no traffic. The festival warehouse, Crafted At the Port of Los Angeles, which is adjacent to the soon-to-be-opening Brouwerij West location (opening 2015), is massive. Not only is it roomy, but indoors as well in the off chance in rains on festival day. The large open doors keep the heat down and air flowing for maximum comfort. It’s a really cool warehouse complex, and parking is a breeze.
4. The Crowd
Saturday’s crowds were tremendous and Sunday’s were manageable. Regardless of the lines, nearly everyone was able to try the beers they were gunning for, which was largely due to the fact that each brewery brought more than enough beer for everyone. The best breweries running out of beer during a fest is a pretty common issue, but I was happy to see that only 1 or 2 breweries had this issue.
4. Drinking Exotic
If you’re a fan of drinking, have no fear, your tickets will get you very far with these great beers. I split 20 tickets with my wife and had no problem hitting the the beers on my list while also trying some of the ones she wanted to have. Happy fest goers that had their fill were giving away their tickets to anyone that would take them so if you wanted to keep going, there’s a good chance you could find a cheap way to do it.
The event was great and was well organized, thanks to Brian Mercer (Brouwerij West) and team, who tirelessly organized much of the festivities. Although it was the first event, festival goers seemed to be in good spirits and there didn’t seem to be any craziness. I’m sure much will be augmented, improved, and changed for next year’s event, but as is it worked well. The beer selection was top tier, the venue was fantastic, and having parking is a major plus.
Some things I would love to see improved for next year? Food. One thing some of the other big annual geeky beer fests have over Shelton Bros, is the inclusion of food. I would love to see a showcase of local restaurants, pubs, and food vendors bringing small portion style samples of their favorite dishes. It’s perfect for pairing and it also helps people get through the day.
Unique sessions. It’s interesting that there were four identical sessions. With the exception of the media/brewer attendees on the first day, each session was theoretically the same. It would be awesome to see this weekend event showcase specific things on each day or at each session. Perhaps an opening ceremony, a beer pairing dinner, a cask event, or some other special theme to each session. Personally, I prefer a single longer session (with food included), so that I’m not racing to get my pours. That being said, if the idea is to coax me into staying for multiple sessions, I would want to have a unique experience at each one.
I’m excited to see how this festival evolves and can’t wait to see how it shapes up in 2015. Kudos and Great Job again to the Brouwerij West + Shelton Bros. teams for putting on a great event.