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Category: Beer Fest

South Lake Brewing’s Nicole Smith at CCBA Summit

Calirornia Craft Beer Summit

It’s a long drive from Tahoe to Long Beach, but South Lake Tahoe Brewing hasn’t missed a California Craft Beer Summit since their inception in 2017. With the Summit kicking off this week they’ll be making the trek again soon! Co-owner Nicole Smith chatted with us before she hits the road.

Have you been to the CA Craft Beer Summit/Festival before? What were some highlights?

Yes I’ve been to the summit and festival since it first started I believe in 2015! A highlight for me was pouring our beer for the first time at the festival in 2017!!

What summit speaker are you excited about?

I’m most excited to listen to Virginia Morrison of Second Chance and Lynn Weaver of Three Weavers during the Pink Boots/CCBA inspiring women leaders session on Friday afternoon! I’ve personally met both women and have been so encouraged by them to keep crushing it in the beer industry!

Which summit educational sessions are you looking forward to?

The educational session on Thursday morning about setting the scene and Leveling Up your tasting room through design and customer experience sounds fantastic and super useful for my role at our brewery. I also think this is a new seminar for the summit or any CCBA conference so I’m excited to learn something new!

What do you hope to learn at the summit?

How to do my job better. How to be a better leader of my business and bring new ideas, tips and tricks of the industry back to my brewery to improve it!

What do you have planned for the fest?

I was pregnant during the last festival and both my husband and I are excited to enjoy ourselves and try super yummy beer during the festival this year. Especially since it’s in so-cal for the first time, we are looking forward to trying breweries that we do not normally get to experience.

What brewery are you excited to check out at the fest?

Beachwood Blendery! We have a friend that works there 🙂

How does this event compare to other beer events you’ve been to?

Besides CBC… the summit I think is the best networking, educational, and uniquely craft beer event to attend!! It’s not as crazy as GABF and it’s a 100% california craft beer festival. I think it’s the best festival in the nation for craft beer enthusiasts to attend.

What’s unique about the California craft beer scene?

The demographics and variety that’s offered. Over 700 craft breweries in the state – we have to differentiate ourselves. There are so many different styles and great beers being brewed by CA Brewers, it’s truly a scene that steers the industry as a whole.

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CA Beer Fest Preview with Smog City’s Laurie Porter

The California Craft Beer Summit and Festival is quickly approaching! Before heading south I checked in with Smog City‘s Laurie Porter to get her take on this exciting event.

Have you been to the CA Craft Beer Summit/Festival before? What were some highlights?

I have been attending the Summit since its inception. I was actually on the original CCBA Summit Steering Committee to decide if the inaugural event was a success (it was!) and if we should continue to grow the Summit (wholeheartedly said YES) and now here we are, in Long Beach celebrating CA craft beer!

As for what Im looking for, I’m a huge fan of the Tap Talk- industry people sharing their experiences and knowledge always gets me excited. I also love the Saturday beer festival. An entire beer festival dedicated to California craft beer is like a dream come true.

What summit speaker are you excited about?

I have not had a lot of opportunities to hear Garret Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery speak plus craft beer icons David Walker(Firestone Walker) and Kim Jordan(New Belgium) always have words of wisdom to walk away with!

What do you have planned for the fest? What will you be pouring?

We have a beer and food pairing that is really exciting. We’ve partnered with Chef Minh of Porridge and Puffs to showcase our love of fruit, smoke, and alternative approaches to beer and food reuse. We’re bringing Echo Echo Echo, a foudre aged sour blended with second use peaches and culinary lavender. Chef Minh created an Echo of our Echoes beer using the peach pits from our beer, smoked lardon, black eyed pea miso with ginger and negi, cinnamon-basil pickled peaches with a lemongrass porridge and seasonal flora…now that’s a mouthful! 

For the Summit beer festival, we’re bringing California Love, an Imperial Red brewed with ingredients showcasing the best of NorCal and SoCal, From LA Wit Love, Better Weather Sweater South Bay IPA and Night Howler, a blend of dark saison aged in puncheon barrels with Brettanomyces blended with a yearling sour brown and a late black cardamom addition- it’s an exquisite beer from our Wood Cellar and I’m confident festival goers are gonna be super excited to try it!

What brewery/beer are you excited to check out at the fest?

I’m sure there will be a ton of lagers, so I’m going to work my way through all of them! We’ve been brewing Little Bo Pils for nearly 8 years now but this year we’ve seen a huge increase in “lager love”. We brewed 5 unique lagers over the summer and they have been very popular! Can’t wait to see what lagers CA breweries are brewing up too.

How does this event compare to other beer events you’ve been to?

The CA-centric approach to the Summit makes this a truly unique event. I love the focus on our industry and especially love highlighting CA beer. We’ve have such diversity of beers across the state and the Summit really showcases that!

What’s unique about the California craft beer scene?

The shear size of California lends itself to diversity of tastes plus we’re the nation’s agricultural center so many breweries in California love playing around with fresh fruits, herbs and food friendly beers. I’ve always enjoyed how wide ranging the craft beer palates are across the state and our breweries are a direct reflection of that range.

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Craft Beer Summit Preview with Moksa’s Derek Gallanosa

CA Craft Beer Summit

Beer Selfie will be at the California Craft Beer Summit and Festival in Long Beach this September! We’ve never been so we checked in with Derek Gallanosa, head brewer for Moksa Brewing, to find out what to expect.

This will be my first time at the CA Craft Beer Summit/Fest. What should I expect?

Be prepared to meet a lot of people in the industry. The majority of craft breweries will be in attendance so create a wishlist of who you would like to meet.

What are some highlights from past CA Craft Beer Summit/Fests for you?

I haven’t been to the seminars but the festival is definitely worth your time. You get to try breweries that normally do not travel outside of their areas.

What does Moksa have planned for this year’s Summit/Fest? Why should people stop by the Moksa booth at the fest?

We will be sending beer to the Long Beach Beer Lab for Thursday night and then Beer Belly on Friday. As far as our booth we always try to bring the best stuff we have. It’s no use attending a festival if you’re not trying to stand out.

How does the CA Craft Beer Summit/Fest compare to other beer events you’ve been to?

It’s more education and networking focused.

What do see as Moksa’s place in the California craft beer scene? How does California craft beer relate to the rest of the beer world?

Moksa is quite different from a lot of breweries in the fact that we receive over 90% of our revenue from our taproom sales allowing us to have more capital to put back into the business. Also the marketing plan is to “Market Globally, Sell Locally.” I travel to beer festival invitationals all around the world to promote Moksa and Sacramento and California. Basically I am using our platform to promote the beer communities that we are a part of.

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Pales in Comparison

Kim and Jeff Jaxon have been taking epic road trips across the country and back each summer for the past few years. Dubbed Pales in Comparison, in homage to their favorite hometown craft beer, they’re visiting dozens of breweries along the way. I checked in with them as they head east on this summer’s journey.

Kim and Jeff

Tell us about Pales in Comparison. What are some highlights from past trips?

In July 2015, we meandered across the U.S. in search of good beer, kitsch locations, and beautiful vistas. Our main goal–and the inspiration–was to go from Sierra Nevada Brewery in our hometown of Chico, California to Sierra Nevada Brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. But we got there via Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia…you know, the directionless route. We created Pales in Comparison as a site to share our road trip adventures and to create a hub for video blogs, Instagram, and other social media so we could more easily share with friends and family. We had such a great time and learned so much, we knew we needed to head out again. We’re now on our third cross country trip, increasing the travel time to 6 weeks on the road. 

Our favorite breweries in 2015 were Blacksmith Brewing Company in Stevensville, Montana and Laughing Sun Brewing in Bismarck, ND. Both places started as a labor of love, have deep ties to their community, and make great beers. 

In 2018, we stumbled upon an incredible nano brewery in Darby, Montana called Bandit Brewing. They didn’t have a bad beer in the list, and they are making clean, hoppy, delicious beer.

route map

What are some of the highlights of this trip so far?

By far, Palisade Brewing Co in Palisade, CO has been one of our favorite stops so far. We were able to sit with both brewers, try beers right off the line, including a farmhouse ale brewed with beets, which was so much better than it sounds. We also found Lost Cabin in Rapid City, SD and they had one of the best Pale Ales (Bruce Banner Pale Ale) on the trip so far. Just last night, we were at Devil’s Kettle in Athens, Ohio and had some amazing sours and an Imperial Blonde called Spider Silk that was full of honey-flavored goodness. 

What are you looking forward to on this trip?

As always, we’re looking forward to a return to Sierra Nevada in Mills River and trying out a few more of the 60+ breweries in Asheville. If you could only drive to one place in the USA and wanted the most beer selection, Asheville should be top of the list. 

What are some of the challenges of a long road trip and visiting so many breweries?

You really do have to do your research: there are a lot of variables like making sure the one brewery in a small town is open on the day you’ll be there (Mondays and Tuesdays are challenging). Finding a brew pub that’s the right driving distance, with a place you can stay nearby, and a brewery that is open and has beers you want to try can be a fun puzzle to solve. We start planning months before with multiple windows open: brewery map (which lets you search a route), google maps, Airbnb, hotel sites, camping sites, and of course, brewery sites. And the weight gain struggle is real; we try to walk or hike each morning, but when you’re drinking beer for 6 weeks with a side of cheese curds…you know, pounds. 

How can people follow along?

You can find links to Instagram, our YouTube channel, and Vlogs from each year on the website: palesincomparison.com

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Q&A: What is your favorite beer event?

B.Mont of @BlackBeerTravelers

When I first read this question, I mentally ran through all the different beer festivals and anniversaries I’ve attended but then I thought more about it all. My favorite craft beer event is actually the bottleshare.

Just picture your last share. Everyone comes together with particular beers that resonate to a story that they want to share. It’s the quintessential craft beer experience. You get the craft, the culture of the beer and the story of how someone came across the bottle. It’s so fulfilling and eye opening. Plus, people tend to bring the best of their best beers. The beers that never hit distribution because of things like low allotments, low yields, high costs and such. The event is also a cool way to diversify one’s palate and experience so much craft in a small amount of time.

My last bottleshare was in Maryland with attendees from all over the US. There had to be over 200 different beers in the room from the roughly 50 people in the room. So many cultures and stories came with a 2-3 Oz pour. It’s a must have experience in craft that is not often mentioned to those just starting out in craft beer culture.

Kyra from @craftbeer_barbie

I really loved Haze it Forward this year at Imprint Brewing. 25 Pennsylvania breweries got together to help benefit the ICU Division at Children’s Hospitals of Pennsylvania. So many great beers and such a worthy cause!

Jamel from @Colvinology

Michigan Summer Beer Fest in Ypsilanti, hands down. You’ve got this massive celebration of Michigan beer that brings in breweries from all around the state with a ton of fan favorites, variants, and experimental beers in tow. It’s a beautiful sea of booths and tents splayed out under the warm summer sun of my old college town. I always run into old friends from undergrad or grad school that I haven’t seen in a while, and there’s a sense of community that I genuinely cherish. Plus, my favorite model shop is about a block away, so it’s basically heaven.


Sierra Nevada Beer Camp. What was once an ordinary brewfest has now become an actual Beer Camp. There are so many activities, games, and of course BEER!


“Weathered” in Vancouver BC, it’s a beerfest bottle share style featuring epic brews from across North America.

Monica Di Loxley – The Italian Craft Beer

EurHop! is the most attractive and selective Italian craft beer festival. It takes place in the Eternal City, in a marvellous location. Here you can drink once a year (2019: 4-6 October) the best craft beers from all over the world and from the best Italian microbreweries. If you visit Rome in October, you can’t miss this event for no reason at all. Created by the most famous and esteemed publican, beer writer and beergeek Manuele Colonna (Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà pub), EurHop! is my favorite Italian craft beer event!

Nikki from @nikkidrinkscraft

My favorite beer event has to be The Brewer’s Ball hosted by Best Florida Beer during Tampa Bay Beer Week! It’s a self pour event, so all of the brewers and a lot of the brewery staff actually get to hang out and drink instead of having to pour. You know you’re drinking the best of the best because all of the beers at the festival have medaled for an award!
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I got Pise(d) at Spuyten Duyvil’s Cantillon Zwanze Day

Guest Post by @ipas_suck

I hate waiting in line.  I hate waiting in line for beer. I hate waiting in line for beer, listening to beer nerds talking about their stupid fucking beers, theories about why “treehouse fell off,” wearing their stupid fucking “rare” beer merch, trying to prove who among this sea of shit is top turd. That is to say, and of couuurse, most of these conversations focused around IPAs. With that bright-eyed spirit, I rolled out of bed at 8 AM on Saturday and decided to head over to the always wonderful Spuyten Duyvil.

@ipas_suck at Zwanze Day

A bit of abbreviated and probably incorrect background: Zwanze Day is the day on which Cantillon (by way of global coordination) releases a unique, small batch of an experimental beer. The 2018 variant, Mannekin Pise, is a blend of lambics, aged two years in Amarone, Chianti, and Sangiovese wine barrels.  The release was coordinated across some 70 bars and breweries, each with limited supply.


I got in line at 8:45 AM to secure my Zwanze pour ticket (released at 10 AM, bar opened at 11) and commemorative glass ($15), only counting about 50 people before me. For the next 2 hours and 15 minutes I listened to a dead ringer for Rod Farva spout off about Kansas City beer to his friends who were basically every guy at a beer event ever, while they returned fire with random factoids about other random beers Farva hadn’t ever heard of, but pretended to.  It was truly the battle of basement dwellers. Nevertheless, I persisted.

Spuyten Duyvil opened their doors promptly at 11 AM and I was not let down by my decision.  They had a full list of “siqqq shit” on tap and in bottles, including Cantillon Classic Gueze, Rosè de Gambrinus, Grand Cru de Bruocsella, an array of aged 3 Fonteinen bottles. I and my drinking companion grabbed a draft of the Cantillon Rosè de Gambrinus and Tilquin Oude Mûre à l’Ancienne and made our way to the backyard where we secured a table.

Cantillon Rosè de Gambrinus and Tilquin Oude Mûre à l'Ancienne

Beyond the Zwanze, there were some surprises. Tucked to the back of the yard was a tap station that had Cantillon St. Lamvinus (obviously spelling is not this man’s strong suit), a merlot lambic, and Cantillon Vigneronne, another grape lambic though this one is made from organic Italian wine grapes.  Cantillon tap stationSurprisingly, despite its deep color and fruity aroma, I found the St. Lamvinus to be a little flat and more subtle than sour, though the Vigneronne was pleasantly dry and tart and I really enjoyed trying it.  And for my next trick, I made a bottle of 2014 3 Fonteinen Oude Kreik disappear. No, I didn’t sit on it. Man, do I love this beer. It’s a deeper, not as tart, cherry flavor but goddamn does it do the trick. It’s a close favorite behind Boon Kriek for me. Then, I basically just lost control and wanted to taste the rainbow™ and drink MOAR B33RZ: so I ripped through another Rosè de Gambrinus and Vigneronne, a Cantillon Kriek (2017), Loverbeer For Fan (which was apricot flavored), and a Hanssen Experimental Cassis which, was FUCKING perfectly tart, full of flavor, carbed right, and just a solid fucking beer. I think that was the 2nd biggest surprise of the day (besides the Zwanze beer not being worth it, but we’ll get to that).

Taste the rainbow

And then it was 3 PM and the star of the show took center stage. The line gathered round, we all got our collectible glassware (#fucktekus) and anticipation built. Awww look, baby’s first Zwanze. Except…it wasn’t good. It was fine. It was allllright, I guess. It’s a rarity…cool? I don’t know it didn’t hit any chords with me. It was a mediocre beer that had a lot of thought and anticipation behind it. It just, yeah…whatever.

The star

tattooBeyond the nerdery of the line and the fact that what we were there to celebrate wasn’t worth celebrating, it was the beer scene at its best. It’s basically a giant bottle share where everyone’s really willing to send some your way. It’s such an awesome time if you’re into the style of beer and even if the Zwanze kind of tastes like a $7 bottle of wine that you let sit out on a table over night.  But don’t wake up early to get in line, listen to dickheads pontificate on beer, or to get a commemorative glass, etc. There was plenty of the Zwanze left over for the same $15 I spent. And if it’s good, it’s good.  But I 100% recommend going for the curated list Spuyten Duyvil prepares and the hard to finds. Bring a friend, bring some food, bring some beer, and have fun. Whatever you do, just don’t get a Cantillon tattoo on your calf.

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Single, Fresh, Wet, & Wild Hop Harvest Festival

Single, Fresh, Wet & Wild Hop Harvest Festival @sierranevada Come find us and and grab a BeerSelfie.com sticker!

A photo posted by Beer Selfie (@beerselfie) on

On Saturday we attended one of the best beer fests you’ll find, Sierra Nevada’s Single, Fresh, Wet, & Wild Hop Harvest Festival. This is the third time in five years that Sierra Nevada has put together this wonderful little beer fest in Chico, California. I hope they continue this fest or, better yet, make it an annual event. This year over 50 breweries from across the country poured some great beers. The weather was perfect and the lines were short or non-existent.

Here’s what we tried with some super quick reviews:

Founders Harvest Ale Yep
HopSaint Name Dropper Yep
Hanger 24 Double IPA Really good!
Hanger 24 Chocolate Porter Really good!
Moonlight Homegrown Fresh Hop Ale Really good!
Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest Wet Hop IPA Really good!
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Still one of the best!
Beachwood Amalgamator IPA Yep
Rubicon Bend in the Rubicon Pale Ale Yep
Half Acre Sticky Fat American Dark Ale Really good!
Half Acre GoneAway IPA Really good!
Finback Knoll IPA Yep
Founders Rubaeus Raspberry Ale Meh. Kinda cough syrupy.
Kane Sneakbox Pale Ale Intense hops. Kinda catty/onion.
Kane Head High IPA Intense hops. Kinda catty/onion.
New Belgium Le Terroir Awesome!
Moonlight Two Weeks Notice Gruit Really interesting stuff. Herbal.
Upland Hopsynth Dry Hopped Sour Ale Yep
Upland Havest Ale Meh
Bagby Continental Cream Ale Meh, Corny
Bagby Struggle Bus Meh
Double Mountain Killer Green  IPA Not bad
Double Mountain IRA Not bad
Redwood Curtain Simcoe IPA Very Good. Redwood Curtain is great!
Redwood Curtain Dutchbier 5.4 Very Good. Redwood Curtain is great!
Russian River Pliny the Elder Still an awesome IPA
Russian River Supplication Still one of the best wild ales you’ll find

The highlights of the festival were both of Half Acre’s beers, New Belgium Le Terroir, both of Redwood Curtain’s beers, and both of Hanger 24’s beers. If you haven’t been to this fun festival keep an eye out for it the next year or two!

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