Festivals are the absolute worst. Who wants to deal with endless lines just to pee, crowds of drunken people (some still regrettably rocking the trend that just won't die—fake Native American headdresses) and this tepidly sticky El Niño summer? Instead, I could be poolside in Palm Springs, feet up and drink in hand.
That being said, I do believe there's an exception to every rule, and when it comes to festivals, you can skip Coachella, Outside Lands and the Gathering of the Juggalos—this year's Modern Times Festival of Dankness will be the one festival to rule them all.
Beer festivals will inherently triumph over music festivals when it comes to not being downright terrible, but even beer festivals can have their fair share of sweaty bros and overpriced tasters. Not so at the Festival of Dankness, we're promised. More than 30 astronomically awesome craft breweries from around the country and beyond have already signed on—including San Francisco's Cellarmaker, Philly's Tired Hands, Bend's Boneyard Beer and more. Quality won't be an issue. Local favorites like Alpine, Stone, Port, Coronado and, of course, Modern Times themselves will represent the best of San Diego, only elevating the world-class caliber of beers that we can expect from this stellar lineup.
Of course, what's a San Diego craft beer festival without some hype about hops? Modern Times' criteria for participation seems wildly flexible: "Showcasing incredible new approaches to brewing with hops." I'm not quite sure what to expect from that pretty loose definition, but I'm sure we'll see plenty of brewers trying to outdo one another with hop-crazed delirium.
Some of the special releases I'm most eager to get my hands on are Cellarmaker's "I See a Dankness" IIPA with Nugget, Simcoe, Citra and Equinox (already hyped as one of the festival's stickiest of the icky), Garage Project's "Pernicious Weed Imperial New Zealand Ale" with Nelson Sauvin and Rakau (we'll see if New Zealand's intensely hoppy imperial IPA holds up to San Diego standards) and Highland Park's "Beer Spaceship" IPA (mostly because of the name—it's awesome).
This inaugural hop-centric bacchanal will take place on Little Italy's Waterfront Park (1600 Pacific Highway) from 3-7 p.m. on August 22. VIPs get a head start on the craft beer and food trucks an hour before the rest of the crowd. As of now, only a handful of VIP tickets remain, so if you can't resist cutting in line (and getting a free festival shirt to boot), then I highly recommend that you pick yours up like, now.
The only thing better than this crafty lineup is where the money from it is all going—straight back into the community through BikeSD, a nonprofit whose mission is to craft San Diego into a top-notch, bike-friendly city through advocacy and infrastructure reform.
Beers, bikes and (hopefully) no faux-fashion headdresses—it's shaping up to be the festival of the year. Get your tickets today or forever regret opting for the Dark Carnival instead.