On Saint Patrick’s Day, going to a beer festival is probably the last thing on the average drinker’s mind. “Will it either be a huge dumpster fire or a complete shit-show?” I wondered, en route to the House of Blues Anaheim. I threw on my crappy lens and checkered-Vans flip flops, fully expecting it to get doused in beer from head to toe.
Turns out, the VIP session of the Lucky Brews Lucky Grooves event is the perfect place to meditate alone in complete silence for a full hour with a wide array of local IPA’s. If a beer festival were to ever take place in a public library, it would probably have more of a murmur than the first hour of this event.
It’s funny how five years ago every brewer brought a hefeweizen and an IPA to the average beer festival, nowadays a really great hefe is a hard beer to come by. Sometimes one just gets tired of hops, and a foggy wheat beer can be the perfect palate cleanse before ingesting more hops.
Inside the event near San Diego’s punk-flavored Fall Brewing, I overheard the words “banana” and “clove” and insta-dumped my Alpine HFS down my throat for a little taste of Bavaria. “Yeah, this is our super fresh hefe,” says Fall’s Cesar Torres with a fat and groggy St. Patricks Day smile. Subtle hints of banana and clove showcased in the beer are a natural byproduct of German hefe yeast and can give off different aromatic compounds, notably isoamyl acetate (banana) and 4-vinyl guaiacol which gives the beer its Cure concert-like cloveyness. The beer is super classic and is made with German pilsner and wheat malts as well as noble hops from the old country.
If you ever hit some San Diego breweries, Fall is always a great stop in Northpark. Locally, one can reliably find their beer on tap at Mission Bar Santa Ana and Total Wine & More. As for Lucky Brews Lucky Grooves, definitely skip the VIP session if you want to hang with the party people.
House of Blues Anaheim is at the Garden Walk at 400 Disney Way Suite 337, Anaheim, (714) 778-2583; www.houseofblues.com/anaheim.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening this June!