By Charly SHELTON
On Sunday, over one thousand people converged on the 2200 block of Honolulu Avenue in the Montrose Shopping Park, the site of the Montrose Brew Fest. Ticketholders were invited to come taste some of the best craft beers the area has to offer from breweries across Southern California, as well as some national breweries like Stella Artois, Shock Top and Kona Brewing Company.
From the horchata stout by Pacific Plate to the “Beer Attack” Irish style red ale brewed with garlic, algal oil, flaxseed oil and hawthorn berry by Dr. Jekyll’s to the Deadpan Pilsner from Weins Brewing Company, there was a beer for every taste ranging from exotic to traditional.
“I thought it was a great event,” said Melinda Clarke, executive director of the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce and organizer of the event. “A lot of people were happy, everybody enjoyed themselves, the weather was perfect and there were so many things offered. I think it went great.”
There were over 20 breweries represented on-site and more than a dozen food samplings offered, keeping just about every guest happy. Unfortunately the overwhelming response caught some off guard, and there were some vendors who had to pack it up early having run out of product. But overall the vendors, some of whom were back at the Montrose Brew Fest for a second year, enjoyed the event, Clarke said, and that “the one thing they said is that people are really great here in this town.”
The event drew guests from all over Southern California through online ticketing and word-of-mouth. All in all, 1,002 people attended the event on either a VIP ($45) or general admission ($35) ticket.
“We had a lot more VIP people this time than last time. I’m thinking that’s because a lot of these people came back and they realized that the VIP tickets were the way to go,” Clarke said.
Sean Coyle and Shelly Weis are two out-of-towners who were attracted to this event. Coyle and Weis are from Duarte and, after hearing about it from their friends and family who are local residents, decided to come over to Montrose for the day.
Coyle, who has visited other beer festivals, said, “I really like this one. I came to the first one and … it’s gotten bigger and better, different brewers and food vendors are coming, so it’s been very good.”
The brewers featured at the event were mostly local, within about 60 miles.
With the craft beer industry in full swing, new breweries are cropping up all over the area including in Glendale, Altadena and Pasadena. Some breweries, like Frogtown Brewery, poured their beer for the first time at this event.
“We tried to make it small, local breweries that you would want to go back to, and people from those areas would want to come here again,” Clarke said. “That’s really what it’s about, promoting the merchants and the city.”
The last Montrose Brew Fest was held in July 2014, and it was painfully hot. This year, the Chamber opted for a March event but due to concerns with El Niño it was pushed to April. Clarke said that this was the perfect time for the event, the weather was wonderful and it worked out very well.
“[Choosing a date and hoping for good weather is] kind of a risky thing. If all goes well, we’re planning to do this about the same time next year,” she said.