New Brewery Calicraft Celebrates The Golden State

Have you seen a bear clutching a barrel? If so, either you’re way too drunk or you’ve spotted bottles from Calicraft Brewing Company, one of the latest players in the Bay Area’s explosion of new breweries.

Calicraft was officially launched in May 2012 by Blaine Landberg, a veteran homebrewer, Walnut Creek family man, and founding employee of Honest Tea. I first met this ambitious but approachable entrepreneur after midnight at a brewers’ conference where, despite the late hour, he exuded enthusiasm, local pride, and love of beer. It’s easy to get caught up in his excitement, particularly when he talks about his commitment to using California ingredients when possible. Even Calicraft t-shirts will be made in-state, not in China.

The fledgling brewery came out of the gate strong with three beers: the refreshing Cali Colsch, the hoppy Oaktown Brown, and Buzzerkeley, a honey-accented Belgian/American mashup that’s already getting plenty of…well, buzz. (Sorry.) I predict Calicraft will have a substantial following by the time it opens its Walnut Creek tasting room.

Landberg took some time away from brewing, beer delivery, and his general daily hustle to answer some questions via email. An edited version of our exchange is below.

You talked about wanting to start a brewery since you were 14. Most 14 year olds are not drinking anything inspiring. How did you get a goal like that at that age?

Living right outside Chico in Willows, CA, the success of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company was a sense of regional pride. As I was growing up I saw that sense of pride as something that I wanted to create…but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just trying to recreate Sierra but start a new movement like Sierra did in the ‘80’s

I come from a family of homebrewers. I remember the moment I realized I wanted to be a brewer, when my uncle brought a beer he made to a family function. It was called Bell and Bear Brew – Hopping Good From Down Under and the label had a kangaroo peeing in a bucket. As a teenager this was hilarious. At our family holiday functions it was always a treat to see who would bring the most interesting craft brewed beer to the party. Though I couldn’t partake, maybe a sip here and there, I loved what it stood for. A symbol for a social gathering, a form of expression, and a sense of family and friends…to me these are the core values and reasons craft beer and craft products in general are so meaningful and why I’ve chosen to pursue them as my life’s work.

When/where did you brew your first batch of beer? What was it?

I brewed my first batch of beer in the kitchen of the dorms in Unit 1 at UC Berkeley. It was an extract brewed pale ale. I added honey to it and called it Buzzerkeley Brewing Virgin Ale. I was only able to brew down there twice before it got out that a 19-year-old was brewing beer, not good. I took a hiatus for about two years and started heavily brewing when I got an apartment with my girlfriend at the time, now my wife. I cobbled together five pots and pans and started brewing extract beer. I made pretty much everything under the sun and I constantly tried to experiment with beers using honey, spices, fruits, and woods. After about two years of fairly consistent extract brewing I started to all-grain brew and that is when my hobby became an obsession.

Do you still homebrew?

I definitely still homebrew. I think that is the foundation of craft brewing. Especially at the stage where I am, it’s important to keep creative and constantly try to improve on concepts and new products. Homebrewing is the best avenue for this.

Since you have beers named in honor of Berkeley and Oakland, can you talk a bit more about your connection to these cities?

I went to school at Berkeley and started brewing in Berkeley. The initial name I thought of for the brewery was Buzzerkeley. I liked that it was a play on Berzerkeley and with the use of honey in some of the beers the play on words was perfect.

While living in Oakland in our little Rockridge apartment I came up with the basics of Oaktown Brown. The idea came to me as I was training for a half marathon and running about Lake Merritt. I would try to daydream about brewing to take my mind off the pain. At that time I was frequenting Barclays, Ben and Nick’s, and Cato’s where I grew a strong appreciation for hoppy beers but also loved a good brown, porter or dark lager. I also felt like there wasn’t a consistent beer on the market that used oak in balance with hops and brown and I loved the double meaning of “Oaktown.”

Can you talk briefly about your other experience in the workforce, including what (if anything) tea taught you about selling beer?

I was one of the first people to join the team at Honest Tea. I started as an intern in 1999, the second year of Honest. I started selling Honest out of the back of my car, similar to what I’m doing now with Calicraft. I purposely chose working for a start-up in the beverage industry because the fundamentals of brand building through distribution and retail are the same. In fact, up until 2008 we mostly worked with Miller and Bud distribution houses in the West. From my car to the end of 2008 we put together a network of over 50 beer distributors in the West and covered all 13 states.

Please describe each of your beers, including any ingredients you’re willing to divulge.

Cali Colsch: We use California-grown base malt from the Klammoth basin by the base of Mt. Shasta. We blend it with some European Pilsner malts to form a base that is clean, smooth, subtly grainy and bright. We then use a blend of American and German hops to bring out noble spicy and fruity characteristics while giving the beer a hint of American hop flavor at the end. The Kolsch yeast we use adds complexity through notes of peach and pear. It finishes bright, playful and clean. Our goal is to not push this beer out of style, but push the beer to the edge of the style, keeping it drinkable and balance.

Oaktown Brown: Redefining traditional brown ale, this is a hoppy, malty, deep and soulful brown ale. We use California-grown organic Cascade hops that give this beer a flavor reminiscent of an IPA. The California grown hops express flavors of orange and marmalade vs. pine and grapefruit from the Pacific Northwest. We then ferment the beer with a blend of three oaks with the foundation of the oaks being American. The beer starts bitter and roasty with subtle smoke. As it warms, layers of chocolate, toffee and caramel begin to shine. The use of oak during fermentation gives this beer structure that lays in your mouth similar to a great cab or zin.

Buzzerkley: Blurring the lines between beer and wine, Buzzerkeley is beverage unto itself. Fermentation with Champagne yeast adds a subtle tartness to the finish. Our combination of pure California starthistle and a blend of Belgian and American malts support the spicy fruity esters of the yeast. The honey sugars are almost completely fermented, drying out the beer similar to a Belgian golden strong or dry champagne. Its best drank cold and in a tight narrow glass.

Where are the beers brewed now and what are your plans to open your own brewery?

Currently we brew our beers in San Jose at Hermitage. We subscribe to the tenant brewer philosophy: much like you would become a tenant at an apartment and make it your home, this is the way we view our relationship with Hermitage. The people at Hermitage have been incredible to work with and are solid partners in business.

In the next 12-24 months we will be building a small 10-15 barrel production system in Walnut Creek. We are currently working with the city to get the area known as the Shadelands rezoned for food production. We will run the brewery much more like an experimental winery with a tasting room than a traditional brewery. You’ll be able to get small batched limited produced beers using local partnerships. A few restaurant or beer-centric bars will get some of the products coming out of Walnut Creek.

In the short term, where can people find your beers?

Bottled beers are available at Berkeley Bowl, Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley, Whole Foods, Jackson’s Liquors in Lafayette and other independent grocery stores. On tap we’ll be rotating at local beer bars and restaurants in the area including Gather and Revival in Berkeley, Handles in Pleasanton, Beer Revolution in Oakland, Tender Greens and ØL in Walnut Creek, and Pete’s Brass Rail and Chow in Danville. If we’re not on draft, ask :)

How to Spend SF Beer Week in the East Bay

It’s called “SF” Beer Week, yet the schedule is packed with happenings all over the Bay Area. If you were so inclined, you could spend the entire week ten days (another misnomer) in the East Bay. For the record, this was true even before the New York Times decided Oakland was hip.

Keep an eye on sfbeerweek.org for the most complete list of options, but the groupings of events below should help you narrow down your choices a bit if you live or work in the East Bay.

Chow Down

Drake’s Sau & Brau is probably the most talked-about SFBW beer and food event on the eastside, and I’ve heard only good things. It’s back in all its porky glory on February 16 with more Chop Bar whole pigs and a ton of Barrel House beers. Tickets are $45 and only available in advance online.

Other food fun:

  • Wine Thieves in Lafayette is repeating its successful Extreme Ale & Cheese event on February 14. (Click to read about last year’s).
  • Master Cicerone Nicole Erny is reprising last year’s Beer & Cheese of the British Isles event at the Commonwealth, with two sessions this year to accommodate more lactose lovers.
  • The Chocolate & Beer Festival is back at the Craneway Pavillion in Richmond on February 11. It’s family-friendly: kids under 9 are free and chocolate-only tickets are available.
  • Get some food in you before a long day on February 12 with the Beer Chef Brunch at Barclay’s in Oakland. Chef Bruce Paton has been throwing beer dinners since before some of you could read, so trust him.
  • Vegan-owned Beer Revolution will have non-animal-based food on certain nights, like a chocolate pairing with Stone and a sorbet pairing with Speakeasy on February 14.

Show Your East Bay Pride

You’ve got two beer week opportunities to let your local flag fly: the East Bay Brewfest at Pyramid and East vs. West night at Barclay’s. The Pyramid fest is a celebration of all breweries on this side of the Bay Bridge, with unlimited tastings for $20 per person or $35 per pair. Barclays will offer a la carte side-by-side comparisons of SF and East Bay beers.

Meet the Brewer

I’m biased (I work there), but Beer Revolution really outdid itself with brewery nights this year. Every day of beer week means meet-the-brewer events, sometimes with three or even five breweries in one night. Big names include Matt Brynildson from Firestone Walker, Fal Allen from Anderson Valley Brewing Company, and Terrence Sullivan from Sierra Nevada, but don’t overlook the fine beers and good folks of local breweries like Black Diamond, Firehouse, Marin, and Dying Vines. Some nights are still in the works, so check Beer Revolution’s events listings for the most up to date info.

More meet and greets:

  • Bobby G’s in Berkeley is another great spot to schmooze. Check their schedule for nights with Iron Springs, Ale Industries, and Auburn Alehouse.
  • On February 11, The Trappist welcomes Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø from Evil Twin Brewing, Brian Stillwater from Stillwater Artisinal Ales, and the owner/founder of 12% Imports – and they’re all collaborating on a special beer for the event. On February 17, the Trappist will host Firestone Walker’s Matt Brynildson and serve food made with his beer.
  • Get your whole family some pizza and chat with Morgan Cox from Ale Industries at Mountain Mike’s in Lafayette on February 13.

Focus, People, Focus

It’s fun to hone in on one particular style for the day. Saturday, February 11 brings us the 11th annual Double IPA Festival at The Bistro. There’s a blind judging before the fest with winners announced midway through, plus a people’s choice vote. You’ll never get to sample all of the 75+ beers on tap, but it’ll be fun to try. (Take BART!)

Other places to go deep:

  • The ever-popular Sour Sunday at Triple Rock and Jupiter is a very worthwhile event for fans of the funk.
  • On the 14th, Jupiter is having an Anti-Valentine’s Cask Beer & Blues Night with live blues and casks from Jupiter (duh), Drake’s, Triple Rock, Dying Vines, Magnolia, and Moonlight Brewing.
  • On Monday February 13, The Trappist is having a Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge blending seminar, where you’ll taste a young beer, an aged beer, and different ratio mixes of the two.
  • On February 17, enjoy a blind IPA tasting at Barclay’s and see if the most hyped-up brands actually are all that. The same night, Bobby G’s is focusing on strong IPAs, including tapping a keg of Pliny the Younger at 5pm (which I expect to be gone by 5:45, but plenty of other tasty beers will remain.)

Learn Something

If you’ve ever found yourself wishing you were better at picking out unwanted flavors in your homebrew or describing the great beer you just drank, Beer Judging 101 at Pyramid on February 19 may be for you. Get an introduction to evaluating and describing beer from Grand Master beer judge David Teckham and Master beer judge Brian Cooper. Both these folks guest-lectured at a BJCP class I took last year and have forgotten more about beer than most of us will ever know.

More geek-out opportunities:

  • Another local beer expert, Nicole Erny, will put you to the test with a blind tasting session at the Trappist on February 13. You’ll learn to describe beers and identify styles, and eventually you’ll find out what the mystery beers were.
  • On February 15, Bobby G’s popular Wednesday night trivia game is all beer trivia, with questions written by the Anderson Valley Brewing Company crew.

Burn Some Beer Calories

If you have a bicycle and $25, you can visit five breweries on February 12 at the Tour de Biere. The day includes tours of Trumer, Linden Street, and Pyramid, plus discounts at Triple Rock and Elevation 66.

More vaguely healthy activities:

  • Pyramid is throwing a “Head Brewer for a Day Dodgeball (S)mashdown” in Berkeley. Those who donate wish-list items to the Berkeley Food & Housing Project can participate in a dodgeball game, and two winners and their guests will get to shadow head brewer Simon Pesch on a future brew day. (Details.)
  • Uh…does walking from BART to the bar count as exercise?

Try a Brand-New Beer

Be on the lookout for beer premiers during SFBW. For instance, Ale Industries is turning the release of its sour cherry imperial stout into an all-day shindig at the brewery with food, music, and other limited-release beers.

More new kids on the block:

  • Triple Rock always releases its imperial stout Keyser Soze during beer week, and older versions are usually available for side-by-side tastings.
  • Black Diamond chose beer week to release its first barleywine in years. It was brewed during SFBW 2011 with eight local homebrewers, is 15% rye, and portions were partially aged in rye and brandy barrels then blended back in.

The Grand Finale

If you have any stamina left on Sunday, the Celebrator anniversary fest at Trumer’s Berkeley brewery includes all the samples you can handle, a BBQ dinner buffet, music, a free shuttle from BART, and a cheerful “we survived the week” vibe. San Francisco may start SF Beer Week, but Berkeley finishes it.

The Berkeley Bar Guide

Photos by Jen Muehlbauer

Berkeley. For some, it conjures up visions of hippies, college kids, or suburban 4th Street shoppers. For others, it’s a place with more good beer than seems reasonable for a town of 100,000.

Bars downtown are a bit more hoppin’ due to their proximity to Cal, while the bars on San Pablo provide more elbow room and a higher median crowd age. None are food destinations per se, but if you like pizza you’ll be in good shape. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a beer costing $6, let alone more, at most of these locations.

The bars below are reachable by BART and focus on local beer, but they’re far from the only watering holes in town. You could also go Irish at the Starry Plough, have a fancy cocktail at Revival Bar+Kitchen, or choose from a giant whiskey menu at Acme. There are also plenty of non-bar salutes to good brews, like the fantastic selection at Ledger’s Liquors, the daily brewery tour at Trumer, and Oak Barrel, one of the oldest homebrew shops in the country.

To make a day of Berkeley without just going to bars all day, add some hiking in Tilden Park, a visit to the UC Botanical Garden, or browsing at Rasputin and Amoeba. Or, from our stops on San Pablo, it’s not too far to the Berkeley Marina. Beer lovers with families should note that all the bars below except The Albatross are also restaurants, so kids are allowed.

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Near Downtown Berkeley BART Station

 

Bobby G’s

bobbygs-Interior

2072 University Avenue (map), Daily 11am-11pm, (510) 665-8866

You’d think downtown Berkeley wouldn’t need two pizza-intensive restaurants with good beer on tap, and you’d be wrong. Just a few blocks from Jupiter, Bobby G’s packs a lot of local beer, Italian food, and live music into a small space. Some of the bartenders are more knowledgeable than others, but beer guy Josh knows what’s up and keeps the beer list fresh with three rotating taps in addition to the solid regular ten-beer lineup (yes, Russian River fanatics, Pliny the Elder is always on tap). Owner Bobby G is a Yankees fan, but this is also a fine place to watch Bay Area sports games. Tuesday is open mic night, Wednesday is trivia night, and Saturday features free jazz and blues acts.

Best time to go: 4-7pm for happy hour; Wednesday for trivia; before or after a meal at the Indonesian restaurant down the block.

 

Jupiter

jupiter-patio

2181 Shattuck Avenue (map), Mon-Thu 11:30am-1am; Friday 11:30am-1:30am; Saturday 12pm-1:30am; Sunday 12pm-12am, (510) THE-TAPS

The sizable back patio is probably the nicest (legal) outdoor drinking spot in Berkeley other than my yard. Expect a range of house beers, Drake’s beers (Jupiter is a member of the Triple Rock/Drake’s family), and guest taps from the likes of Moonlight Brewing and North Coast. Add pizza and jazz shows and you’ve got a crowd-pleaser.

Best time to go: A sunny day, though heat lamps and a firepit keep the party going after dark and in the colder months.

 

Triple Rock

1920 Shattuck Avenue (map), Mon-Wed 11:30am-1am; Thur-Sat 11:30am-2am; Sunday 11:30am-12am, (510) 843-2739

Triple Rock is one of the first brewpubs in the country, going strong since 1986 (History wonks, make sure to get an eyeful of the breweriana on the walls and you can learn more about it here). Today it’s almost like three different places: the often crowded but always cordial bar area, the all-ages sit-down area, and, when open, the roof deck. All sections offer pub grub, Triple Rock’s excellent beers, and servers who actually know a thing or two about what what’s on tap. There should be a libation for everyone here, but arguably hoppy beers are where Triple Rock really shines. Try the IPAX, the seasonal imperial IIMAXX, and other lupulin-forward limited-release beers like the Single Hop Experience series. If you only make one beer stop in Berkeley, this should be it.

Best time to go: between lunch and dinner; during big sports games if you’re into that kind of thing. Thursday night, when patrons snap up servings of Monkeyhead strong golden ale by the liter bottle, is loved by some and loathed by others.


Near North Berkeley BART Station/San Pablo Buses

 

The Albatross

Albatross-Dart-Board

1822 San Pablo Avenue (map), Sun-Tue 6pm-2am; Wed-Sat 4:30pm-2am, (510) 843-2473

The oldest bar in Berkeley (founded 1964) is widely known for its borrowable board games, challenging pub quiz, pool tables, and dart boards. It’s also got a solid beer selection that, in most cities, would be the best beer list for miles around. It’s cash only, but more than makes up for it by allowing outside food — I recommend Pakistani fare from Kabana or a sandwich from The Cheese Steak Shop — and dishing up fresh, cheap popcorn. It’s more a pub than a bar, if we’re making such distinctions, and with only one TV set, it’s a cozy place to escape from the big game if you’re not into sports. There’s local art on the walls, dogs allowed inside until 8pm, old timey bluegrass every other Wednesday, and other live music twice a month or so.

Best times to go: Sunday nights to lose at trivia; late afternoon/early evening for good conversation with the bartender and old-timers.

 

Lanesplitter Pizza & Pub

lanesplitter-interior

2033 San Pablo (map), Daily 11am-11pm, (510) 845-1652

Beer and ‘za, take three. Well, it is still a college town. The little patio out back is smaller than Jupiter but still allows for drinking beer in the sunshine. The inside has local art, action figures of past bartenders, and a solid taplist of about a dozen regular and rotating taps from Iron Springs, Bear Republic, and other local favorites. As a bonus, there’s always one beer on cask, and during happy hour, the house pale (brewed by Drake’s) is the best deal in town at $2.75 per pint. If any of the babies in my social circle lived in the Berkeley, there’s no question they’d own Lanesplitter onesies by now.

Best times to go: weekday happy hour (3-6pm), weekend happy hour (11am-6pm), Monday (happy hour open to close). What can I say? This is a happy place.

 

Pyramid Alehouse

pyramid-interior

901 Gilman Street (map), Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm, (510) 528-9880

If your glass is half empty, most of these beers are middle-of-the-road Craft Beer 101 for new/unadventurous beer drinkers. If your glass is half full, these are solid, balanced session beers. Either way, here are some things about the Berkeley location that you might not know.
1) The brewery tour is free, and your group will probably be the only ones on it so you can ask as many geeky questions as you want.
2) Some of those limited-release/seasonal beers, like Uproar red from the Ignition series or MacTarnahan’s Lipstinger, may surprise you.
3) $8 growler refills after your first $13 fill. Bargain! And let’s say more breweries than you think will fill a Pyramid growler once they put their own logo on top.

Best times to go: weekdays at 4pm for the brewery tour; whenever you need a cheap growler fill; before a night at alcohol-free punk rock venue 924 Gilman.

A First-Timer Goes to Boonville

“I can’t believe you’ve never been to Boonville!” shocked beer drinkers would cry. In the Bay Area beer world, it’s like admitting you’d never had an IPA.

Photos: Rick Hayes (left) & Alberto Gutierrez (right)

The actual Legendary Boonville Beer Fest, now in its 15th year, is a four-hour beer festival at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds down the street from Anderson Valley Brewing Company. It’s a fine example of a commercial fest, with unlimited sampling and a wide array of micro and regional breweries. It’s a 2+ hour drive from the Bay Area though and we’ve got plenty of festivals at home. The big draw for many is camping in the surrounding area, turning the fest into an all-weekend beerathon (and smokeathon, if that’s how you roll).

Photo: Alberto Gutierrez

I was lucky enough to be granted a spot in the brewers’ camp by Ale Industries in Concord. A lot of the positivity I feel towards Boonville is thanks to those guys and their fun-loving camping crew. Ale Industries’ Morgan Cox has been attending Boonville for a decade and he knows what he’s doing (and grills a mean pork dinner). When I arrived there were already four good beers on tap at the campsite: two from Ale Industries and two from homebrewer and MoreBeer employee Jesse Warren. “Roughing it,” this ain’t.

But let’s try to separate my lucky break from the average person’s Boonville experience. Its official name even includes the adjective “Legendary,” but how legendary is it, really?

The legend: It’s chaos.
True, but that’s not necessarily an insult. Repeat attendees seem to declare this festival a hot mess with a big smile on their faces. Weird, loud, and crazy stuff does occur, beyond the normal beer fest antics of cheering for dropped glasses. Costumes, singing, drinking games, and depantsing…I saw it all in a few short hours.

There is bad behavior, but it doesn’t dominate the festival or ruin the day. For every out-of-control bro emptying his bladder on a fence there’s a beer geek taking notes and most festival attendees are somewhere between those two extremes. They’re drinking beer, making merry and learning a little something about what they like and what good breweries can offer them.

If you keep a sense of humor, you can have an amusing time people-watching the shenanigans. Just make sure you control your own consumption somewhat so you can laugh about the guy passed out under a tree, not be that guy.

Iron Springs Brewing Ambrewlance / Photo: Rick Hayes

The legend: A marching band?
True. The Humboldt Firkin Tappers, a band of mostly-local musicians, travel the festival and the campgrounds doing marching-band arrangements of rock and pop songs. Some find them irritating, and rumor has it they’ll drain all the beer at your campsite if you’re not careful, but for my money there’s nothing better than hearing Cee Lo’s “F*** You” played on brass instruments by drunk people.

The Humboldt Firkin Tappers / Photo: Rick Hayes

The legend: The weather’s gonna suck.
This year, true. Friday and Saturday were chilly and overcast, and then it rained on-and-off from Saturday night through Sunday. On the way out of town, on windy Route 128, it hailed. Hailed! We get it, Mother Nature: you’re not a beer fan. Please don’t send frogs and locusts next year.

The key is to pack lots of layers – more than you think you’ll need – and make sure someone in your group brings a canopy. The other survival tactic is attitude. Decide in advance not to let lame weather dictate your mood, and if you’re finding this difficult, drink more delicious beer until it’s easy.

The legend: The four-hour festival just gets in the way of your three-day camping party.
Well…true and false. Any weekend when I can sleep in a tent is a good one, and I consider a beer festival in the middle to be a bonus, not a nuisance. But that’s easy for me to say, because I’m not a brewer. Hauling kegs, setting up, cleaning up and staying sober to truck it all back through town is not as enjoyable as chilling with friends at the campsite. When you see brewers at fests like this let them know you like their beer so they remember it’s worth it.

Dan Del Grande of Bison Organic Beer (Center) & the Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton (right) / Photo: Alberto Gutierrez

A corollary legend you’ll hear among beer industry people is, “If you can’t get a spot in brewers’ camp, it’s not worth it.” The brewers’ camp does have a few distinct advantages over the general campsite. For instance, fire pits are allowed, brewers tend to go all-out on camp food (Marin Brewing smoked two whole pigs), it’s less rowdy (notice I said “less” rather than “not”), and there’s little chance of running out of beer. However, I think the main benefit of the brewers’ camp for most people camping there is a little more touchy-feely than most will admit: that’s where their friends are. I enjoyed meeting new people during the weekend, but I spent most of my time hanging out with familiar faces from the Bay Area and getting to know friends-of-friends I’m sure I’ll see again soon. That would have been fantastic with or without fire pits.

Marin Brewing’s Whole Pig Roast Prep / Photo: Alberto Gutierrez

If you don’t socialize with beer industry people and have no shot at a space in brewers’ camp, don’t despair. I think anyone who brings a crew of beer buddies, lots of quality beer, and coolers of home-cooked food and/or a small barbecue can have a great time in the general camp. In either camp, you’ll need to arrive early to secure a good spot and bring earplugs, ibuprofen, water and maybe toilet paper (see below).

The legend: The porta potties can make a grown man cry.
Mostly false. From the sound of things, the toilet situation was much improved this year. They got cleaned at least once, had paper at least half the time, and – while they were definitely still beer festival porta johns – didn’t nearly approach the levels of hurl-inducing vileness I’d been warned about. Thanks, AVBC!

The legend: Boonville is awesome.
True.

Thanks again to my hosts Morgan Cox (Ale Industries Co-Owner and Camp Food Master) and Steve Lopas (Ale Industries Co-Owner and Chairman of the Coffee).