I'm prepared to give a detailed account of the San Diego County Fair's International Beer Festival (SDIBF), but I'm tempted not to. How is it possible, after years of combining the fair with a massive beer fest, that I'm still unable to order a deep fried beer anywhere? SDIBF, consider yourself on notice.
This year's admission to the SDIBF was $32. That might feel a little pricey after coughing up for entry to the fair and parking, but remember that it's $8 just to have a cup of unremarkable macrobrew once inside the fair. When you consider the alternative of unlimited tasters from nearly 150 brewers in an environment free of cotton-candy-addled children, the economics are compelling.
True to SDIBF's moniker, roughly a third of the brewers were internationally sourced. Ordinarily, I'd be thrilled to have access to so many unexplored beers, but my inner patriot was sickened by these throngs of unwashed foreigners trying to steal American taplines. Overall, the selections were definitely a mixed bag, with beer quality ranging from “paradigm shifting” to “meh.”
Despite being a packed event, lines were generally fluid and beer revelry abounded. The only hitch was a run-in with some piece of human detritus who decided I won the asshole lottery and postured for a unprovoked fight. Granted, this has nothing to do with SDIBF. Such things happen anywhere alcohol flows freely. However, being a petty guy with a media outlet, I hoped he'd read this and learn what a douchenozzle he is.
This year offered a VIP upgrade that really delivered, even when almost doubling the cost. After wading in a sea of humanity for 1- ounce samples that practically evaporated before reaching my parched lips, I savored the tall pours and highfalutin' snacks in the Brewers Lounge. The lounge is even situated above the field, all the better to simulate the Mount Olympus experience for mocking the puny mortals below.
On second thought, maybe I do deserve to get punched out.