When asked by a local reporter why people should come to the Monterey Beer Festival, I replied, “Good beer, good friends and good weather.” Luckily, we got all three last Saturday.
Despite unsettled weather all week and some people (e.g. Krista) predicting rain, Saturday dawned sunny and warm. Matt and I arrived at the festival mid-morning to help with set up. Merideth and Michelle joined us later.
It had been years since I was behind the scenes at a beer festival. I found the pre-opening hustle and bustle fun. Excitement was in the air as tables were set up and lines began to form outside. On the other hand, there was also the last minute stress of hauling ice and setting up kegs.
We set up our own table to sell some of our SWAG and Michelle to sell her Brau Frau Designs earrings and bracelets. We also poured Allagash White at our table, as Rob Tod wasn’t able to make the festival.
But the real advantage of getting to the festival early was pre-sampling the beers. In between setup duties, I found my two favorite beers at the festival; Uncommon Brewers’ Baltic Porter and El Toro’s Deuce Imperial IPA, a former Alpha King champ.
As hosts we had various duties to go along with the privileges. On a mundane level, we were asked a lot questions by festival-goers, the most common being “Where are the bathrooms?”
We introduced two of the three bands and made our first appearance on the Brewing Network, the highlight of our duties. We were excited to be hosts of the festival because it gave us an opportunity to promote the Monterey beer scene and our interview on the BN was a great chance to do that. We promoted ourselves and Merideth’s book, as well as plugged the Peninsula’s growing beer scene. The Brewing Network crew even echoed our sentiments about the increasing strength of Monterey County’s craft beer community.
The feel-good story of the day was Mitch and Melissa. Due to some miscalculations a few months back, they scheduled their wedding on the same day as the beer festival. Undaunted by the double booking, Melissa had the idea of having their wedding reception at the festival. We met them Wednesday night at Strange Brew and they told Merideth about their plans. Merideth offered her assistance to store their cake and provide a place for Melissa to change out of her dress, if she wanted.
Mitch and Melissa were the hit of the festival. They received frequent well wishes and applause as they wandered the festival in their wedding clothes. Melissa’s grandmother was also quite popular during her interview on the Brewing Network. Unfortunately, Melissa didn’t get married in a “girls are beergeeks too” t-shirt, but it went perfectly over her fairy tale wedding dress for a more casual look. Congrats to them and we wish them many happy years to come! We also look forward to having a beer with you in the future.
As the afternoon progressed and our official hosting duties lessened, we were able to man our table and relax for the first time in weeks. Some of our good friends joined us behind our table as we drank beer and watched the festival happen in front of us. It was a pleasant end to the day.