There were 1,000 people too many at last year’s Mission Valley Craft Beer Festival, which was a good thing for Fresh Start Surgical Gifts—the local non-profit that benefitted $6,500 from ticket sales—but not-so-much for cramped festival-goers whose $40 admission saw diminishing food and drink supplies less than halfway through the six hour event. The selection of outstanding dishes and beers went fast and waiting in lines seemed to take forever, but the charitable fest certainly wasn’t lacking in substance. This year, organizers at the Handlery Hotel and Resort have responded to criticisms by promising to refine the experience for everyone– guests to vendors.
A number of improvements are planned for the festival’s third installment coming up on April 1, including the addition of a VIP hour (1-2 p.m.) and a pool-side, meet-the-brewers after party (’til 8 p.m.) with live music, each $10 more on top of the $40 general admission price. This year, regular party hours have been cut in half (2-5 p.m.), there’s five to 10 more food and drink vendors than last year; picnic tables, additional seating, water stations and two areas for bathrooms have all been added so that guests can get the most out of the all-you-can-eat/drink fest, and this year’s ticket proceeds will go to another charity near and dear to San Diegan’s hearts—Wounded Warriors Homes.
Founded by Steve and Mia Roseberry in Vista, California, their mission is to provide medically discharged single men and women of the armed forces with affordable housing and additional resources to ease the transition from active duty military to living independently as veterans of war. The program is targeted specifically at those with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); affordable housing is available to eligible persons for up to two and a half years, allowing savings for cars, deposits for renting or down payments for homes. Before the Roseberrys founded Wounded Warriors Homes, every weekend they transformed theirs into a sanctuary for the very people they help now, citing the importance of calm and stability that a comforting environment provides. This cause is truly noble, and pairs perfectly with San Diego’s military and craft beer backgrounds.
The Mission Valley Craft Beer (and food) Festival is bringing together the region’s best grub and grog for the charitable celebration. Last year’s highlights included the Cajun spice and catering company Shaker Bake Foods, whose fragrant piles of peel-and-eat shrimp caused quite the feeding frenzy; they’ll be back again, and this time with a half of a cow. Other anticipated food vendors include the pork-guru behind Carnitas Snack Shack, Chef Hanis Cavin, R-Gang Eatery’s Chef Rich Sweeney, A.K.A. The Gourmet Tater Tot King, and Anthony Friscia of downtown’s first yakitori and ramenjoint, Gaijin, that opened in February. Chef Jeff Rossman, known most for La Mesa’s Terra American Bistro, will also be on hand representing his latest venture, Bunz, preparing Three Li’l Pig sliders with bacon, ham, pulled pork and beer thyme mustard. Look forward to even more good eats from Sea Rocket Bistro, Stone World Bistro and Gardens, The Bailey BBQ and of course Executive Chef Karl Prohaska from The Handlery. There will also be vegetarian and vegan options. For more on the culinary participants, check out the Facebook page (Mission Valley Craft Beer and Food Festival).
As for the beer, selections are under wraps but expect the best– especially during the VIP hour — from Ballast Point, Green Flash, Stone Brewing Co., Karl Strauss, Hangar 24 Brewery, On the Tracks, and Monkey Paw. The complete list is 24 breweries, listed below. Three bands will also perform live on the West Coaster stage.
Discounted tickets are available for designated drivers and The Handlery Hotel is offering special-event room rates. The after-party is a must, and was added to the event roster so brewers could enjoy themselves after a hard day of festival work. Tickets are on sale now through TicketDerby.com; there is a link on the Facebook page that leads to the ticketing site.
Mission Brewery, The Beer Company, Lighting Brewery, Ballast Point Brewing, Green
Flash, Oggi’s, Stone Brewing Co., On The Tracks Brewing, Hangar 24 Brewery, Monkey Paw Brewing Co., Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Coronado Brewing Co., Crispin Cider Co. Tailgate Brewing, Rough Draft Brewing Co., Butchers Brewing, Latitude 33 Brewery, El Cajon Brewing Co., La Jolla Brewhouse, Golden Coast Mead, Hess Brewing, Eel River Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing, Manzanita Brewing
Transportation Options: The festival is encouraging taking the Trolley to the festival. Parking is available approximately 0.4 miles west of the Handlery (see below)
TICKETS: General admission is $40, and VIP admission is $50.
Click here to view more info/purchase tickets.