I don’t even remember the last beer festival l attended (it was probably back in 2012), so I was quite excited for Raley Field Brewfest. It was also my first ticketed beer festival, which after last Friday night, is not a system I’m crazy about. Not only because of the unnecessary over-zealousness of the ticketers, but of how the breweries were treated. I had to write this post after seeing this Facebook status by Knee Deep Brewing.
“Never poured at a beer fest and within 10 min. been red flagged, told to not pour so fast because they cannot keep up on collecting tickets for the beer, told we would not be invited back and that we would be fined. Sounds good to me, we plan on never pouring at Raley Field again. Not what beer festivals are about.”
Now, I understand the concept of drink tickets. At the cor, it’s for safety/liability reasons. No beer event wants any liability for drunk driving accidents that may occur. I get it. But that is no reason to chastise the brewer. Chase me down for a ticket if you gotta, but it’s asinine to penalize a brewery for simply trying to meet the demand of their customers. They want their beer tasted by the people, and can you blame the people for wanting some free beer at an event we already paid $35+ for? I got a sense early on that the ticketing was ridiculous. I mean, I’m a pretty cute girl and I only got away with two beer freebies.
In all seriousness, though, feeding the ticket-hungry monsters didn’t mean anything. Near the end of the night, people were dropping their leftover tickets on the ground or giving them away, which means many of them didn’t even meet the ticketed limit of drinks, and whoever wanted more than their limit got it. My boyfriend picked up a string of 6 or so tickets off the ground, went to a brewery tent, handed them to the ticketer saying, “here, let these take care of the people in line”, and the guy still collected tickets from the people in line! There isn’t much that can be said to that, aside from that’s not what beer festivals are about. Not to mention, some brewers were going out to the line themselves and pouring free drinks for people. This is what beer festivals are about. Breweries giving samples of their products, and consumers finding products that they like, in an environment of like-minded people, freely, without being policed around. I will be hard-pressed to attend another beer festival with a drink limit.
Also, it was 100+ F in downtown Sacramento and thereby the hottest, stinkiest hellpit on Earth. Imagine the following smells: sweat, beer, BO, sunscreen, and bug spray with no wind in superhumid environment. But I suppose that wasn’t the ticket collectors’ fault.
Enough ranting, I suppose. Here’s the good news! Despite the “GIMME YO TICKET!” and abhorrent weather, I had a genuinely good time. Highwater Brewing, where have you been all my life? Your stout is like the best chocolate milk I’ve ever had. Knee Deep, I thoroughly enjoyed Batch 138, always love an aromatic pale. New Helvetia and Track 7, I thoroughly enjoyed you guys too. I wish I could remember everything I tasted, but you know, beer. But I found new beers to enjoy and breweries to support. That’s what it’s all about, folks.