This Saturday, June 5th, was the 6th annual Citizens Who Care BeerFest. And whoa! It was so cool! It was out front of Sudwerks, under the freeway, and there were around 100 beers there. Everyone got a sweet nearly-6oz. sampler glass and could fill it up as much as desired. Most of the people pouring were from the Master Brewers program at UC Davis.
Before I got to tasting I decided I should find out a little bit about Citizens Who Care, a group whose name is quite vague. Turns out though, their subtitle is “for the elderly,” which then very specifically describes what they do: They’re all volunteers who run various services that care for elderly people, or help families care for their elderly relatives. Maria Acuna-Feldman, who has been with the group for 12 years, told me that they decided to raise money via a beer festival because Michael Lewis, the UC Davis professor emeritus of brewing sciences is on the board, and current brewing professor Charles Bamforth’s wife, Diane, is on the board…so they had a lot of connections to be able to put it together. All the beer was donated by the breweries, and the group hopes to raise $12,000 from the 4 hour event.
She told me a few other things too, but I figure this is a beer column, so lets get to the part about tasting all the graciously donated beers (and I don’t mean that ingenuously. These breweries really donated a lot of great stuff).
It was exciting. So much so that I went onto my semi-smart phone, logged onto its slow Facebook app, and updated my Facebook status to “I’m a kid in a candy shop..at the beerfest outside sudwerks..so many beers to try.” And I don’t really do that often.
The best way I can think to describe what made this CWC BeerFest so exciting is this: it was like looking at the beer section of a well stocked grocery store that has all these beers you’ve been wanting to try for a long time, but instead of having to buy all these bottles of all this beer and eventually get to them…YOU COULD TRY IT RIGHT THERE. And there was no limit to how many you could try. It was a pallet builders dream.
For example, I had been wanting to learn more about the Saison style. SO I TRIED THREE DIFFERENT SAISONS BACK TO BACK. Is it just me or is that friggin’ awesome? Not only that, but I tried them alongside Belgian Triples, so then I could compare Saisons to Triples–can anybody tell me what that one distinct flavor is that Saison’s have but Triples don’t?
And speaking of that, they also had bottles of Russian River’s Consecration, their dark belgian sour ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon casks. Bottles of that sell around $22…but I could taste it unlimitedly!
Breweries brought mini kegs to pour beers on tap, but most were served from bottles kept in buckets of ice. Luckily, the pourers were extremely knowledgeable beer students, so beers that shouldn’t be left sitting open weren’t left sitting open (a problem I’ve experienced at other tastings).
What I’m trying to get at here, is that this BeerFest has potentially saved me a lot of money. It condensed months of beer exploration into four hours. Some beers I had been considering buying bottles of, I found out I don’t like that much. And some I had wanted to buy for the sake of comparing with other versions of the style, I now have tried, so I know which one I’ll buy in the future.
And this is all happening under a freeway with bands playing in the middle of everything…it’s a pretty cool atmosphere to sit down and soak in. I’m not saying I aspire to drink under freeways in my future, but I definitely enjoyed those giant, concrete parallel lines above my head.
Am I just trying to make you jealous by writing about this awesome event after it has already happened?
No. I’m not. I’m trying to let you know that you should go to it NEXT YEAR. I know that a lot of people (mostly students)
were scared away by the $35 in advance, $40 at door price tag, but after experiencing it and realizing that you get INFINITE samples of really good and often rare beer, I’d definitely say it’s worth it. I mean, yes, it’s about the money going to the charity, but for those of you not into charities, keep in mind, it’s still a good deal. Even the sausage they served was delicious. I ate it alongside a sample of Stone’s Levitation Ale.
And I’m not getting paid to advertise this thing. I just really liked it that much. I thought they did a good job with it, and that any beer enthusiast in the Davis area should know about it. Although I wouldn’t mind getting paid for things. So if you want to pay me to talk about your beer event, let me know. Or if you had other things you wanted to pay me for, I’ve got other skills. Like I’m pretty decent at cooking eggs. Just let me know.