By Douglas W. Motley
With 21 Southland craft breweries and three food vendors participating in the 12th annual Brewfest, how could you not pull off an enormously successful event that pleased the palate of over 200 craft and home brew aficionados who flocked to what has become a Lake Arrowhead tradition?
Folks traveled from as far away as San Diego, Cambria and Liverpool, England, to hang out with each other and enjoy scores of finely crafted brews, as well as hot dogs and cheeseburgers from the Lakefront Tap Room, soft pretzels from the Soroptimist Club and Mexican fare from El Tacontento.
Intensifying the festive occasion was music and dancing thanks to Steve’s Rock ‘n Roll Time Machine.
Also adding to the festive occasion was a motley crew of colorfully attired swashbuckling pirates led by Capt. Morgan, who roamed the festival grounds brandishing intimidating pirate swords, muskets and blunderbusses. As intimidating as all of the pirate weaponry appeared, these festival pirates from the Lake Arrowhead Tattoo Company were of the friendly variety, often emitting a healthy “Arrr, Arrr, Arrr!”
In between checking IDs at the entrance gate of the private Tavern Bay Beach Club, this reporter had an opportunity to sample some fine lagers, ales and IPAs from vendors such as the Mountain Brew Club, which has been participating ever since the first Brewfest in 2010; Crestline’s very own Skyland Ale Works; Hanger 24’s renowned Orange Wheat Beer; and some hard cider from Sycamore Ranch and Vineyard. Owner Richard Krumwiede told The Alpine Mountaineer that the first hard cider I had sampled was made from Rome Beauty grapes that are co-fermented with Roussanne grapes grown on the Central California coast, while the second one, First Crush, is co-fermented with apples, blackberries and raspberries grown on the grounds of Sycamore Ranch.
Other vendors offering tastes included Mash Masters Brew Club, OurBrew, Maltose Falcons, Horse Thief Brewers Association, High Desert Homebrewers Anonymous, Brewluminati, Brew Knights, Inland Empire Brewers Homebrew Club, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Coronado Brewery, Ritual, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Mikkeller Brewing San Diego, Stone Brewing, Brew Knights, Euryale Brewing Company, Coronado Brewing, Ritual and Lake Arrowhead brewing Co.
Lake Arrowhead resident Tiffany Cibelli said, “I first heard about this from my boyfriend, who’s now my husband. He said it was really cool, and I’ve been coming here for five years.” Michelle Di Simone, also from Lake Arrowhead, said, “I’ve been coming to this fabulous event every year, and this year I’m volunteering at the VIP tent.” The VIP Tent is an added amenity that provides a cool, indoor setting where patrons, for an additional small fee, can relax and partake of catered sandwiches, sides and refreshments.
Even though it was a gloomy afternoon with dark clouds billowing overhead and the constant threat of rain pouring down, as it had done the day before, nary a drop of rain fell from the sky until shortly after the Tavern Bay festival gates closed at 5 p.m. In other words, it was a beautiful day for a festival with a spectacular backdrop of Lake Arrowhead.
Held annually since 2010, the Lake Arrowhead Brewfest is a joint collaboration between the Mountain Brew Club and Lake Arrowhead Communities Chamber of Commerce, partnering with Blue Jay business owners to raise money to support local, community-based organizations.
Kathy Baker of Redlands said the Brewfest had only whetted her appetite for the annual Lake Arrowhead Oktoberfest, which begins this weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17 and 18, from noon to 7 p.m. at their relocated Waterfront Park venue. Oktoberfest continues weekly through Saturday, Oct. 29. While parking and admission are free, there are fees for food and beverages and the rental of picnic tables. Authentic Bavarian oompah dance music will be provided by the Bavarian Beer Garden Band, the Kalifornia Krauts, the Bluebirds and other German-style bands. For more information and to order tickets, log onto https://kingfish.ticketspice.com/lake-arrowhead-oktoberfest-2022.