OC Brew Ho Ho – a winter beer wonderland

Tis the season…

The winter beer season is upon us and that means it’s time to celebrate with spiced ales, high gravity stouts, and barrel aged brews of all denominations. Lucky for us there’s one place for all that stuff. Where? At the OC Brew Ho Ho. Is your Christmas shopping list filled with requests for beer related stuff: hats, t-shirts, bottle openers, glassware, coasters, etc. There’s a place to get that stuff too, the OC Brew Ho Ho. Perhaps you were there? If so, then you can skip below to the photos.

The crowd shuffles in

The OC Brew Ho Ho! Holiday Ale Festival was a sold out event with 1,500 fans of craft beer in attendance at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, CA. It featured some of the best craft beer available in Southern California with the greatest collection of holiday ales ever assembled under one roof. The food was incredible with gourmet offerings from multiple food trucks and local food vendors like Slaters 50/50, and after feasting on lunch there were amazing desserts from Brewcakes and Drunken Udder. And the best part was all the great brewery themed holiday gifts available at the beer booths. I wish everybody shopping for me this Christmas was in attendance. I’d be set for life.

For entertainment they had a DJ playing a wide variety of music including holiday tunes. There was also a Super Jenga, Baggo bean bag toss, a shooting range, and photos with Santa Claus ensuring that there was never a dull moment!

The event

OCBrewHoHo2012 (18)I know most of you are just here for the photos so I’ll try to keep this brief. The OC Brew Ho Ho is a beer festival put on by the same fine folks who bring us the OC Brew Ha Ha in the summertime. I’ve mentioned how much I enjoyed those festivals already. Since this was the inaugural winter festival from the same fine folks, I knew I had to be there. This one was a little different in that it had a smaller number of breweries in attendance, and was held at a different location. But I know that the Brew Ha Ha folks really take pride in doing things right. So this event was at the top of my “To Do” list this holiday season. It will be at the top next year as well.

The Beer

There was so much great craft beer being poured that it was a challenge to decide what to taste next. I did my best to try the stuff that I hadn’t had before. But when Ballast Point has Sculpin on tap, you gotta get some of that. There were so many great beers that I can’t name them all. OCBrewHoHo2012 (17)One of the highlights for me was the special collaboration from Bootleggers/Newport Beach Brew Co/Pizza Port aptly named “Holiday Ale”, which is available in bottles now. Check your local bottle shop. The one I kept telling folks to be sure to try was the Barrel Aged Stout from Ritual Brewing. And the best named beer had to be Noble Ale Works “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out Kid”. What were your favorites? Leave a comment below.

Here’s a photo gallery of the beers I enjoyed…

The People

I showed up with a group of good friends who all appreciate craft beer. I also met up with a lot of beer folks that I usually only get to socialize with online. I got a chance to chat with brewers, chefs, beer fanatics and even had lunch with a few folks who were relatively new to the beer festival concept. Even though I loved trying all the different beers, the best part for me was hanging out, and getting beer soaked with like-minded craft beer folks. Here’s a few pictures of them…

The rest of the photos

Below are the rest of the photos that I took at the BrewHoHo. The only ones I omitted were either blurry or duplicates.

Afterwards, the Beer Soaked crew was driven by our designated drivers to Smoqued BBQ in Orange where we all met up again for dinner. We posted about that experience over on Dining Out Spoken, our food companion to the Beer Soaked blog. Cheers!

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