It starts in April or May, when the dry weather becomes more dependable, and by June it is a force of nature: Outdoor beer season in Northern California. Beer lifted in toasts in urban Biergartens. Increasingly fine craft beers at baseball parks. Home brewed beer at backyard barbecues. And most impressively, intriguing tastes of dozens of creative, flavorful beers at the season’s many excellent beer festivals.
Sunday June 17th the Brewing Network’s Summer Fest takes place along the BART corridor. Expect lots of breweries pouring goodies for adults, a place for kids to play and a pleasant picnic-in-the-park atmosphere overall to make this the place to be, whether you are celebrating Fathers Day or the just the Sunday closest to Summer Solstice. Full event descriptions and ticket sales are available at the Brewing Network’s Summer Fest page.
BART is the ideal way to get to Concord’s Todos Santos Square for this fest. (Yes, there were big problems on the Thursday commute due to a building fire not far from the track, but the trains are rolling again.) You’ll walk about three level blocks after you get out at Concord (not North Concord) Station. The park is next to the pleasant E.J. Phair’s pub, so you will find walking details from BART on our page for E.J. Phair.
Last weekend we were happy to attend a notable first festival put on by Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, California, not far from San Luis Obispo. The first Firestone Invitational raised the bar on the notion that a beer festival should make beers available that you don’t see every day from breweries you can’t try every day. The organizers took care of all the small but important details and provided a quality environment for the visiting brewers and musicians, making for happy patrons. Southern Californians got to try Northern California beers and vice versa — and everybody was excited about the top breweries in from the Midwest. Watch for this top notch festival again next year.
How best to find cool festivals? Find and follow beer savvy sources on Twitter for last minute pointers. Check to see if your favorite breweries list all the festivals they will attend on their sites. Check local calendars. At the time of this writing, the Bay Area Craft Beer blog is keeping an extensive list of events.
Explore Beer By BART; use our list of some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best beer places with detailed transit info, so you can get out there to enjoy without driving.
Your sentiment on the Firestone Walker festival hit the nail on the head! I was SO used to this kind of festival in Seattle (CA needs a WABL), which made the first few events I went to down here hugely disappointing. Firestone definitely revived my interest in CA beerfests… Well, at least my interest in their’s for next year 🙂