Long Beach Beer Festival Invites Homebrewers to Bring Their A-Game

by TK Sanders
(Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The inaugural Craft Beer Long Beach Homebrew Invitational festival kicks off on Saturday, March 19, and will feature some of the area’s best backyard beer specialists. Hosted by the same folks who created the popular Craft Beer LB Festival (now in its sixth year), this Long Beach beer festival will feature 45 homebrews from locals all across SoCal.

“These people commit themselves to homebrew,” said event organizer and homebrewer Mike Waldren. “They love beer and want to pour beer.”

Festival attendees can sample unlimited pours during the four-hour session. Each homebrewer gets to contribute one recipe to the festivities, but organizers promise a massive array of beer styles and flavors. Hazy IPAs, sours, modern Pilsners, lagers, cream ales, saisons, schwarzbiers, even a “smoothie beer” are some of the choices.

“It might be easier to tell you which style of beers aren’t present,” Waldren said. “Every single beer style on the [lineup] is enumerated on the BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) judging categories.”

What makes this homegrown (homebrewed) Long Beach beer festival unique is that it is also a competition of sorts. Organizers will present two coveted awards to brewers. The first is a popularity award, and the second is a judge’s award. Professional local brewers at legitimate beer companies will comprise the panel for the second award, according to organizers.

Winning brewers will get a chance to sell their homebrew at the main festival

The judges will critique beer based on predetermined style guidelines; specifically, did the homebrewer meet the requirements of the guidelines during the brew process? The winner of the Judges Choice award will also have the opportunity to professionally brew their flavor in conjunction with Syncopated Brewing, a local micro-brew in the area. The beer will then be featured in the Craft Beer Long Beach Festival in September.

Professional breweries like Beachwood Brewing, Liberation Brewing Co, Ambitious Ales, Ten Mile Brewing, and Syncopated Brewing will also attend the homebrew festival. Homebrew participants can also bring other flavors for guests to try — though they can only enter one.

General admission tickets cost $35, which includes unlimited pours from both the professional breweries and homebrewers. Attendees who purchase a VIP ticket for $55 can enter the festival an hour early. The event is family-friendly and permits children ages 15 and younger free entry.

According to the Craft Beer Long Beach festival website, the organization is Southern California’s premiere beer advocates.

“Craft Beer LB is just as it sounds. We are all things Craft Beer related in Long Beach. We currently hold 2 annual events in Rancho Los Cerritos. Craft Beer LB Homebrew Invitational in the beginning of Spring and Craft Beer LB Fest towards the end of Summer. The Homebrew Invitational features homebrewers from all over SoCal along with a Pro Brewer’s Lounge. Craft Beer LB Fest features all things Long Beach.”