Over Memorial Day weekend, beer lovers of San Luis Obispo County attended the California Festival of Beers, or BeerFest as locals call it, bringing in over 4,000 people to this year’s events. Since 1986, California Festival of Beers has become one of the largest beer festivals in the region and has raised a good deal of money for Hospice of San Luis Obispo County. This year, attendees had a choice between two different tasting events, the Connoisseur Tasting on Friday and the Grand Tasting on Saturday, both of which took place at the Madonna Inn.
Connoisseur Tasting “Arts and Drafts”
The Connoisseur Tasting “Arts and Drafts,” which was held at the Madonna Inn Expo Center, was a smaller event featuring specially selected craft beer paired with local cuisine as well as local artwork and music. Some of the breweries at the Connoisseur Tasting included Black Market Brewing Company, Telegraph Brewing Company, Central Coast Brewing and Bang the Drum Brewery. Beers from these breweries along with others were paired with local cuisine from restaurants such as Novo, The Brat Shop, Spike’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. Those who attended received an official event pint glass.
The Grand Tasting was held at the Madonna Inn Meadows and was a much larger event, with thousands of guests attending on Saturday. There were 56 breweries pouring at the Grand Tasting, including some local breweries such as Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Barrelhouse Brewing Company, as well as some larger breweries like Heineken and Samuel Adams. Attendees were able to enjoy some local food from SLO Brew, The Pairing Knife, Spike’s and Higgie’s BBQ World. Music performed by local bands filled the meadows all day from bands Soundhouse and ReLion. Official event glasses were given to attendees, who also got to play a variety of games in the meadows and take pictures in BeerFest frames.
Hospice SLO, a local non-profit that provides grief counseling and respite care, has been putting on the California Festival of Beers as a benefit since 1986. Every year all proceeds from the event go to Hospice SLO, enabling them to support the community in dealing with loss and promote healing through counseling, community education and volunteer support. All Hospice SLO services are provided at no charge. For more information about Hospice of SLO County visit http://www.hospiceslo.org/.