Southern California Homebrewers Festival: Recap

So this years Southern California Homebrewers Festival at Vail Lake in Temecula was one not to miss! I can’t even start explain how many great homebrewed beers we all enjoyed at the fest a couple Saturdays ago. There was about 40 Clubs pouring (counting More Beer’s booth) with an estimated average of 500-600 beers on tap! Pacific Gravity ourselves where serving a full tap system of 21 beers on tap, with a couple kegs in reserve.

It all started off with us showing up that friday and setting up camp. Carl and Tom got the “Wave of Beer’ and the kegs to the our festival tapping site, Ian and Tim got the campgrounds chef’s kitchen in order and set up. The rest of us pitched our tents and some kegs from brewer combo Ian and Tim where tapped and put in cardboard box cooler! As well Jeff B. tapped a couple kegs, one being a 6 day brew to keg turn around.

Ian started us off on the right path with surveying up some Hawaiian flare appetizers, before the commercial night tasting, of Spam musubi, Fresh Ahi Poke, and Arare crackers. As he started cooking dinner most of us headed down to the festival site around 7-7:30pm to check in, get our glass wear, and enjoy some more beers. We where then greeted with the fact everyone got a complementary large bottle of Belgian Dark Strong from Ventura’s Surf Brewing and the CHA. As well, a good handful of Homebrewer’s booths where already set up and pouring some amazing beers. Like homebrew club “Vibe” from Ventura was pouring a sour Cuvee that was to die for. Also very notable was our friends “The Yeastsiders” who not only where pouring some amazing beers, but had 19 of them ready to go already. One being a 22% beer!

We slowly made our way to the commercial tasting night, gated off in the back. Due to rules they had to be separated and no beer went in or out between Homebrewers and Commercial beer areas. From the commercial tents there where: Mission Brewery, Ventura Surf Brewing, Ritual Brewing, and Rockbottom Brewery. Out of all the commercial tasting Mission had a great Stout that went quick and they had a wheel to spin for prizes. Surf Brewing had some great beers on tap and in bottle, Terry wins the special prize of finding out they had a special secret Kriek beer behind the bar! Ritual had a lot of good beers on tap, especially in the IPA’s. Although I did note that I felt I was getting some more off flavors in the Commercial beers then Homebrewed beers!

Some of us closed out the commercial tasting night and walked back to camp. Vail Lake was jumping, one club had a full band on a trailer rocking out, others had great light displays and where serving beers to who ever walked up. I heard More Beer had there campsite set up to pour beers to all that came. Some of us stopped off for a beer or two! Back at camp though was the real treat, Ian’s dinner for Friday night was one of the best meals I have ever had! More on the Hawaiian theme we where treated to full BBQ’ed Teriyaki Tri-Tip’s, wing and leg Teriyaki Chicken, Sticky rice W/furikake, and of course Hawaiian style Macaroni Salad! We all could not stop taking about it or eating it. We all could of ate tell we popped! While after dinner we sat around the fire, we opened bottle after bottle of great craft beers to share and slowly started knocking off to bed, with anticipation for the following day.

We all woke up to Ian making coffee, and starting breakfast consisting of delicious Fried rice w/eggs over top, once again we ate tell we where stuffed! Most of us contemplated taking cold campsite showers and getting ready for the main event, but there was some work to do first. A handful of us went to the fest site prior to help set up the booth and get all the beers labeled and on tap. Then later between 11am-12pm most of us started heading down to the fest. The Fest was buzzing, all the clubs where in a semicircle with the main stage opposite to the booths, playing music and special talks all day. Maltose Falcons booth was first with two tent and tap set ups, pouring about 35 beers. One notable one was a stout being poured through a coffee Randall! All of us took our own path that day to some degree, a bunch of us had slotted times to work our own Pacific Gravity Booth too. Every stop we took the beer got better and better! Society of Barely Engineers was there with there “Societe du Lambic” European Sour/Lambic Booth. Where they take the same base beer and different club member do there own twist on it, by adding fruits, spices, aging it, and you name it. Vibe was on a role that day too, they busted out a gong and rang it every time they where opening a new sour beer bottle. By the time I got there they had a table full of samples to try! Long Beach Homebrews our freind to the south had a double booth set-up with one pouring great beers and the other as a Hydrations station with all sorts of infused waters. Another notable club was Crown of the Valley Brewing Society with a great list of interesting and delicious beers on tap! The list goes on and on of great clubs like Strand, Yeastsiders, Crude Brew Crew, BrewCommune, Thousand Oaked, Foam on the Brain, and so many more with great home-brewed beers on tap. A lot of clubs also had food and snacks out and one you could even make your own pretzel neckless. Lunch we all got food from the food court area consisting of those amazing Brats that apparently will not become back I heard. They have been going to this festival for years. Also another place had great BBQ, and another one had some good looking Tacos! A bunch of us and fest goers also bought Raffle tickets that go to supporting the CHA. Some people where buying tons of them. The grand prize was a full brewing sculpture. Unfortunately none of us won the main prizes.

As the day got longer, the sun starting to set, we all pushed though. I was on a personal goal to try at least one beer form every club that day. It took most of the day to do it too. In the end most of us gathered around the PG booth with club friends Strand Brewers Club’s booth right next to us at the festival. We drank with Strand, toasted the memory of their loved and lost member this past year Jeff Sanders. We might of been getting a bit rowdy, but we here having fun. We closed down the festival as they where asking people to leave, headed back to the camp site, grubbed on more of Ian’s awesome food of Ribeye Steaks, Cedar Plank Salmon, Roasted garlic rosemary roast potato’s, Strawberry/Gorgonzola green salad with ambrosia dressing, and Lodge country loaf bread. More bottle and kegs where opened and tapped, some of us where having the times of our lives, maybe a little to much? Some of us where already in bed, and some don’t recall!!

The next morning was somber, a bit hung over, some more then others. Ian treated us with our final breakfast of Bagels with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and all the fixings, Scrambled eggs, Berry fruit salad, coffee, and Mimosa’s!  Thanks to Paul for the champagne! A group of us eventually went back to the festival site to break down the tap system. We took down our tents, cleaned up the site areas, and where serenaded with the sounds of acoustic guitars by Michael M. and Brett W. while reminiscing about the day before. One by one we all started to leave, packed our car and kegs to hit the road. A couple of us went to check out the actual Vail lake, which was unfortunately down 30 feet, thanks to El Nino predictions and the County’s presumptions that they’ll get it back in rain water as they took it.

Im pretty sure everyone that went this year will be back again next year, especially if Ians cooking and it’s at Vail Lake again. CHA is trying to get a 5 year contract so hopefully everything works out and we will be able to enjoy this amazing festival in such a great location again.

Thank you to everyone that came and helped out during the weekend. Tell next year!


2016 Homebrew Festival: Call For Beer

If you can donate a keg (or two) for the Pacific Gravity serving booth at this year’s Homebrewers Festival at Vail Lake on April 29-May1, please email me ( brewfest{at}pacific gravity{dot}com ) and Carl ( competitions{at}pacific gravity{dot}com ) and advise with the keg size and style.

If you will be attending the festival, please bring your keg with you.  If you are not attending, you can bring it to Thursday’s club meeting at my place, or we can make alternate arrangements.



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SoCal Homebrewers Festival: Last Day to Save & Other News

Today is the last day you can register for Homebrew Fest registration for $40 – tomorrow it goes up to $45. Go to and purchase a membership in the California Homebrewers Association for $10.   Then click on the MEMBERS ONLY tab on the CHA website, choose the “2016 SCBF REGISTRATION”, and buy the fest registration.

In other news:

Homebrew Fest Camping:

  • There are plenty of slots available at the PG campsite.  If you haven’t reserved a spot yet and want to, email me at schbf {at} pacificgravity {dot} com
  • Please pay the $30 camping fee at the next Pacific Gravity event (like this weekend’s Monster Brew), at the Culver City shop, or send a check to the club’s PO box.
  • If you want to get in on a group meal plan, sign up with Chef Ian at fraser_ian {at} smc {dot} edu

Homebrew Fest Activities:

  • Commercial breweries offering tastings on Friday night from 7p-9p include: Ritual; Surf; and Rock Bottom.  CHA is negotiating with two more.
  • For our musical entertainment, The Bricktop Blaggers, the popular Celtic-Rock group that played last year’s fest, will be playing Friday night during the commercial tasting.

Register today!



SoCal Homebrew Fest Reminders: 13 Days Left to Save $

If you are going to the Homebrewers Festival on April 29 – May 1:

(1) Save $5 by registering for the home brewers festival by February 29.

– Go to and purchase a membership in the California Homebrewers Association.  Cost is $10.  Per California ABC regulations, you must be a CHA member to attend the festival.

– Click on the MEMBERS ONLY tab on the CHA website, choose the “2016 SCBF REGISTRATION”, and buy the fest registration.  Cost is $40 before Mar-1, $45 thereafter.

(2) If you are going to stay at PG-Land, our campsite / banquet complex at Vail Lake Resort (cost: $30 per camper, excludes food):

– Reserve a spot by sending an email to me at [email protected] with your name and the names/email addresses of any campers that will be joining you;

– Pay $30 to Tim Bardet, Club Treasurer.

We will send out more info as the fest gets closer.








HomeBrew Festival Registration: Save $10 by Jan 31

April 29 – the start of HomeBrew Festival Weekend – will be on us in no time, and now is the time to reserve your spot.  If you sign up by January 31, you can save $10 off the official registration cost of $45.  And don’t forget to reserve your spot at PG-Land, our campsite complex at Vail Lake Resort.

Attending the Homebrew Fest in 5 Easy Steps:

(1) Go to and sign up to become a member of the California Homebrewers Association.  Cost is $10.  Per California ABC regulations, you must be a CHA member to attend the festival.

(2) Click on the MEMBERS ONLY tab on the CHA website, choose the “2016 SCBF REGISTRATION”, and buy the fest registration.  Cost is $35 before Feb-1, $40 before Mar-1, $45 thereafter.   Do you want to attend for free?  Choose “Volunteer Registration” to donate 2 hours of your time and save the entire cost of registration.

(3) Pay $30 to Tim Bardet, Club Treasurer, for a camping slot in PG-Land.

(4) On April 29, drive (or better yet – hitch a ride) get to VAIL LAKE RESORT in Temecula.

(5) Enjoy sampling the food and the plethora of beer that will be present throughout the weekend.

We will send out more info as the fest gets closer.

SoCal HomeBrewers Fest: Response Needed

The next Southern California HomeBrewers Festival will be held April 29 – May 1, 2016 at Vail Lake RV Resort in Temecula.  I will be reserving our club campsites in a couple of weeks, and I need your help to figure out how many sites P.G. will need.

We are limited to 6 campers per campsite, and there is a different cost structure depending on whether you are staying in a tent or in an RV/trailer.

If you plan to attend and stay at the PG campsite, please send an email to me at:  “brewfest {at} pacificgravity {dot} com” and advise:

(a) If you will be camping in a tent, how many – including yourself – camping slots will you need? The cost will be $30 per person for the weekend (Fri and Sat);


(b) If you plan to stay in an RV/Trailer.  In this case, your RV/Trailer will get its own campsite at a cost of $110 for the weekend, and must be paid before we reserve the campsites in the first week of November. (If you want the lowdown on this option, talk to Larry Powell.  He did it at the 2015 fest.)



  • The costs listed above cover the cost camping only. They do not include CHA membership ($10 – required to purchase fest pass) or the Festival Pass ($35 if purchased in January; $40 if purchased in February; $45 if purchased in March or April) or food.


  • The Bricktop Blaggers will be back, providing their take on Celtic Rock on Friday night.
  • A different band will be playing Saturday afternoon.
  • The Friday night commercial pour will take place in the festival area.
  • They plan to have 5 commercial breweries pouring Friday night; each must pour 2 or 3 special beers.

Happy Pacific Gravity 20th Anniversary Kickoff Month!!

To kickoff our 20th anniversary, we will be posting old and possibly forgotten photos of past events / members each month starting with some from around 1999.  There are certainly more, but we’re trying to pick some of the better ones.  We wish they were a little better resolution, but after all, it was 1999!!! Hope you all enjoy and party like it’s 1999 this year to celebrate! …just don’t dress like it’s 1999, wow!

Cheers to our 20th and may we have an even better next 20 years! Read more

SoCal HomeBrewers Festival – News & Deadlines

The registration site for the May 2, 2015 Homebrewers Festival at Vail Lake in Temecula is now up and running at until April 17, 2015.  No registration will be allowed after that in order to comply with California ABC regulations.  There are some significant changes to the SCHF from years past:

(1) Only CHA members are allowed to register for the SCHF.  There is a $10 registration fee – go to the site, click on the “Membership” tab, then select “Become a Member”.)

(2) Each CHA member is permitted to purchase only one (1) registration for the SCHF. (Once you are registered as a member on the site per #1 above, a “Members Only” menu option becomes available. In the “Members Only” menu, choose “2015 SCHF Registration” and follow the instructions.

Homebrew Festival registration is $35, but you can save $10 if you register by January 31 (final cost: $25), and save $5 if you register between Feb 1-Feb 28 (final cost: $30). The entrance fee may be waived if you get on the volunteer list, but those opportunities fill up fast and you could get left out.

(3) SCHF attendance will be limited to 1600.

(4) SCHF registration will end on Apr. 17.  There will be no registration available during the 2 weeks prior to the Festival.  No exceptions.


Pacific Gravity has secured a group of campsites for the weekend (5/1 – 5/3).  We have capacity for about 50 campers; cost for a weekend of camping is $25.  Your camping spot is not reserved until you pay the camping fee to the Pacific Gravity Treasurer.

So, for the low cost of $60 (if you register by 1/31), you get: (a) 2 nights of camping; (b) entrance to the Friday Night Pro Brewers tasting session; and (3) admission to the Saturday Homebrewers Festival that will feature over 30 homebrewers clubs offering samples of over 300 examples of homebrew across all styles.

I will be posting more information about cost and planning a bit later.  In the meantime, don’t forget to save the dates in your calendar.

Homebrewers Festival Returns in 2015 !

On the weekend of May 1-3, 2015, Pacific Gravity and other homebrewers clubs from all over Southern California will descend on Vail Lake Resort in Temecula for the 2015 edition of the Southern California Homebrewers festival.  Vail Lake was the festival site before it moved to Lake Casitas, so this is a homecoming of sorts.

Mark your social calendars now.  We will kick the organizing into high gear after the beginning of the year.

Save The Fest! Action Needed Now!

Hi Everybody:

As you may be aware, legislation has been drafted which will modify an existing bill that essentially prohibits events like the SoCal Homebrewers Festival.  The vote on the new legislation takes place on April 9.

That’s 4 days from now, but it is NOT TOO LATE to act.  You can make your voice heard by sending letters to (1) the GO committee chair, Isadore Hall and (2) your state representative if he/she is on the GO committee.  The list of the GO committee members is attached.  Here is a link you can use if you are unsure who your representatives are: Assembly Member  (Thank you Scott Burnell for the link).

And to make it even easier …

– A sample letter is attached that you can modify by adding your name and the name of the legislator.  Please delete any of the helpful notes embedded in the document.

-You don’t even have to go to the post office.  Email your completed letter document(s) to:  [email protected]   She will make sure they get directed to the appropriate person.

Thank you.

GO Committee members

AB 2609 Sample Letter