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Brew Ha Ha 2017: Rare Beer, New Releases, and More

I attended as a guest of the event.

On Saturday, September 23rd at the picturesque Oak Canyon Park, craft beer aficionados like myself attended Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival, the largest craft beer festival in Orange County. Upon our arrival, my boyfriend David and I received swag that was reserved for Rare Beer Section + VIP ticket holders: a commemorative tasting glass, a Brew Ha Ha tote bag, and a koozie.

Underneath the canopies that lined the park’s grounds, brewery employees and volunteers poured more than 250 craft and import beer samplings from more than 90 breweries. Vendors sold craft beer related merchandise such as t-shirts and hats. Big Brother Big Sister of Orange County and Inland Empire received a portion of the event’s proceeds and requested donations in exchange for pretzel necklaces. I have never felt so indecisive in my life. As much as I wanted to taste every craft beer offered, I had to be strategic with my beer list. Additionally, the new Rare Beer section added 20 more craft beers to choose from.

In its inaugural year, the Rare Beer Section was a hit. This small and intimate section featured local and international beers from breweries, including The Lost Abbey, Green Cheek, Mikkeller, The Bruery, and Noble Ale Works. Since David’s palate is attracted to sweet and tart beers, he loved Ballast Point’s Tequila Barrel Aged Octopada and Green Cheek Beer Co. and Mikkeller’s collaboration Lemon Drip. I personally fell in love with New Zealand-based 8 Wired Brewing Company’s Bumaye, an Imperial Stout aged in pinot noir barrels.

When you see a long line at a craft beer festival, you automatically assume that the particular brewery’s beer is out of this world. However, when you see several incredibly long lines at particular times at a craft beer festival, you just witnessed the hype of some fantastic new releases. Several breweries including Noble Ale Works and Bottle Logic Brewing capitalized on the 8th annual festival’s reputation as Orange County’s best craft beer festival by premiering its new beers: The Juice is Out There (Noble Ale Works) and The Spice Must Flow (Bottle Logic). In the general section, I absolutely loved Noble Ale Works Yoga Pantz, a Pumpkin Spiced Naughty Sauce and was impressed with Towne Park’s White Ale. David liked Chapman Crafted’s Table Friendly.

Attendees who wished to take a break from drinking beer had several options to choose from. If they were hungry, they were able to purchase food from one of the food trucks in attendance. If they felt competitive, they could either toss a keg, play cornhole, or climb a rock wall. If they were in the mood to shake their hips and move their feet (and many attendees were), they danced to The Spazmatics’ upbeat classic rock cover songs.

Brew Ha Ha continues to impress me year after year. Who knows what the 9th annual Brew Ha Ha will bring?

Can’t wait for next year’s Brew Ha Ha? Brew Ha Ha Productions will be hosting Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival on December 9, 2017. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.ocbrewhoho.com/.

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