Beer and Buellton Make a Great Pairing at Lagerville
Fourth Annual Brew Fest Hosted by Figueroa Mountain Brewing
The intersection of the craft beer movement and lager-style brewing was buzzing with activity at the annual Lagerville beer fest, which celebrated its fourth year at Figueroa Mountain Brewing in Buellton on April 15. More than 50 breweries from as far away as Germany and close by as Santa Barbara County participants BrewLAB, Island Brewing, Hollister, The Brewhouse, and Third Window brought out their best tasting and creatively named lager-style creations to pour for an appreciative audience and compete for both juried and crowd favorite honors at the invitational competition.
As I learned at the festival, almost every beer falls into either an ale or lager category, and lagers — which derive their name from the German word lagern, meaning “to store,” because they used to be put into cold caves to mature — are made from yeasts that prefer cooler temperatures, which ferment more slowly, and are considered “bottom-fermenting,” while ale yeasts prefer warmer temperatures and are considered “top-fermenting,” which generally leads to a higher alcohol content.
The eminently quaffable lagers on tap Saturday were perfect for a beautiful spring day, with the brewers and eager beer aficionados all enjoying the chance to gather over one of their favorite things.
First place in the light beer category went to Grains of Wrath’s Frost Hammer, a traditional German-style pale beer from a Pacific Northwest brewery started in Camus, Washington, which now has a second location in Portland, Oregon. Second place went to Alvarado Street Brewery’s Pils from Salinas, and third place in the light beer competition went to Green Cheek Beer’s Crushing Is Relative, a Czech-style pilsner that I quite enjoyed.
In the dark beer category, first place went to Vienna Lager by Institution Ale, which, while headquartered in Camarillo, has a sizable outpost in Downtown Santa Barbara at 516 State Street. Second place went to Black Hoodie by Faction Brewing out of Alameda, California. Third place went to Enegren Brewing Company’s The Big Meat. This Moorpark-area brewery did indeed bring a big powerfully smoky, meaty flavor to this unusual beer. Not only that, but head brewer Chris Enegren happens to be the mayor of Moorpark.
The People’s Choice winner of the day, Templin Family Brewing, caught my eye early, as I wondered about their location in Utah, where about 50 percent of people are Mormon and forbidden from drinking alcohol. Their line was longer than most during the first part of the day, perhaps because they were also medal winners at the Great American Beer Festival, or maybe because they were well-situated near the day’s entertainment, which included music from Dante Marsh & The Vibe Setters, The ’90s BaBiez, and DJ Peetey. In any case, I never got to taste the People’s Choice winner, though I did enjoy the Templin Family’s enthusiastic acceptance of their award — and I had more than enough beers to try.
The abundantly generous pours, friendly people, good food, and great, easy-to-get-to setting made Lagerville an overall winner and a really fun festival all around. Keep an eye for details on next year’s edition.
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