Time to brush up on your Boontling, because on Saturday, May 4, Anderson Valley Brewing Company hosts the 17th Annual Boonville Beer Festival at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds. This is easily the most scenic Bay Area venue for a beer festival, and Mendocino right now has that delicious blend of warm-in-the-sun and cool-in-the-shade temperatures that makes it perfect for drinking everything from crisp pilsners to meaty porters. Your festival ticket entitles you to unlimited samples from over 75 craft brewers. There’s also food available for purchase, though you are welcome to bring your own. Five bands will provide the day’s soundtrack.
Each year’s fest has a theme and for 2013, it’s the 1980s. AVBC’s official Beer Guy, Steve Miller, notes that there will be a costume contest, so dress accordingly if you want to win a prize.
As with other beer festivals, you can reduce the time spent waiting in line by sampling beers from the lesser known brewers earlier in the day, then when everyone’s consumption rate has dwindled, stroll up to the more well-known taps.
It can be a long drive back to SF after the fest, so you may want to stick around afterwards. Many fest-goers camp in the area, arriving on Friday to enjoy a weekend in Mendocino. First-come, first-served sites are available on the fairgrounds themselves, including a few RV hookups. There are other camping options as well. The sites at Hendy Woods State Park are already reserved, but several other nearby parks are first-come, first-served. If you prefer more civilized accommodations, there are a good number of hotels, inns and B&Bs in the valley and in nearby Ukiah and Cloverdale. AVBC has assembled a handy list of your sleep-over options here.
Tickets can be purchased online till May 3 and picked up that Friday until 10 pm at the AVBC Taproom, or festival day outside the front entrance of the fairgrounds starting at 10 am. Tickets to the fest are also sold locally at Toronado and 21st Amendment.
Steinber, it's not just shy sluggin’ gorms neemer!
Date: Saturday, May 4, 2013
Time: Taps open from 1 to 5 pm; music plays until 6 pm.
Place: Mendocino County Fairgrounds, 14400 Highway 128, Boonville, CA
Price: Advance tickets are $41.50 each if you’re samplings beers and $6 if you aren’t. Planning ahead is key; sampling tickets will be $55 cash at the gate.
Note: This is a 21 and over festival; kids are not allowed at the event. Also, no dogs are allowed on the fairgrounds.