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Brewfest 2011: A very hoppy night at Raley Field

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Raley Field transformed into a beer connoisseur’s paradise Friday night at the fifth annual Raley Field Brewfest.

Breweries from around the region partnered with the Northern California Brewers’ Guild to introduce their summer seasonals and rekindle the love for their year-round fan favorites.

“I was pleased with both old favorites and new options. It was a great time,” said Sacramento resident Heather Deas.

For $30 in advance and $35 at the door, beer enthusiasts were handed a mini-pint glass upon entry and given ten tickets good for one 5 oz. tasting. For $50, “VIP” guests were allowed to enter an hour early and given eight additional tasting tickets. For those left wanting more, additional tickets could be purchased.

“We’re excited that we [had] so many breweries participating,” said Raley Field Communications Manager Rebecca Brutlag. “We [had] over 40 this year, last year was over 30.”

Each brewery or restaurant, spread out along the concourse, gave ticket holders two options (and a very tough decision to make) on which brew or cider they wanted to sample.

Live music by bands 50 Stories and Private Criminals, along with the Sacramento skyline backdrop, was just the icing on the cake to a pretty much perfect evening in Sacramento.

As the night wore on, attendees’ smiles grew steadily larger along with their enthusiasm for the festival.

“I was already ready for a lot of beer, but when I got here, there was even more than I expected!” said Kevin Burrill with a large smile plastered on his face.

Among the various breweries were crowd favorites Lagunitas Brewing Company, pouring “Hairy Eyeball,” a strong brown, as well as their well-loved IPA; Hoppy Brewing Company doling out their Amber Ale and “Liquid Sunshine,” a hoppy blonde ale; and Brew it Up, serving their house favorites, “Big Valley Red Ale” and “Ladder #2 Lager.”

Other notables were High Water Brewing’s “Retribution IPA,” with a whopping 9.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), and Lost Coast Brewery’s ever-so-refreshing “Great White” and “Tangerine Wheat.”

While final attendance numbers haven’t been counted yet, Brutlag says this year’s ticket sales definitely exceeded last year’s (around 3,000) and deemed the event “highly successful.”

With a brew to fit every level of beer enthusiast, good music and an all-around jovial mood in the air, one thing is sure: the majority of the crowd left looking extremely hoppy.



To see a calendar of upcoming events at Raley Field, visit their website.

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