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Fermentation Fest, Sour Beers, and More

Where to Celebrate Wild Drinks (and a Few Foods, Too) This September

All alcohol is not made equal. That’s the manifesto for the Farm-to-Bar component of the sixth annual Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival on September 11, where guests can learn about the history, traditions, and craft of alcoholic beverages from more than 20 exhibitors, empowering them to concoct wild beverages at home and make more informed decisions in the marketplace.

“Minimally processed, fermented alcoholic beverages are raw, wild, and alive,” said Katie Hershfelt, who founded the primarily food-focused festival in 2011 with her mom, Lynn Hartman, but integrated the liquid aspect due to demand from attendees in 2013. “They act as a built-in natural digestion aid.”

Revitalizing traditional alcohol fermentation, wild brews offer many benefits to its pasteurized counterparts, including folic acid, B vitamins, and beneficial microbes.

At this year’s “Fruit, Malt, & Sugar: The Fuel of Fermentation” panel, Justin Siemens of Bees Brothers Brewing, Anthony Caspary of Ventura Spirits, Peter Goldammer of BrewLAB, and Ian Cutler of Cutler’s Artisan Spirits will discuss how to feed their own fermented beverages.

“Choosing your alcohol is also a choice for health,” said Hershfelt. “Just like you should know where your food comes from, you should know who makes your alcohol.”


The sixth annual S.B. Fermentation Festival is Sunday, September 11, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $35, plus $20 for Farm-to-Bar. Kids under 16 are free. See

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