Hundreds of beer novices and connoisseurs gathered and mingled Saturday at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa for the fourth annual Brew Hee Haw Craft Beer Roundup.
With the OC Fair in full swing, patrons hung out and sampled over 80 pale ales, IPAs, stouts, lagers, saisons, hefeweizens and sours from dozens of craft breweries. Since the sold-out event included admission to the fair, people were pairing their tastings with the elaborate fair foods, including the 5-pound unicorn (er, pig) leg, deep fried avocados and an ice cream sandwich made with a jelly-filled doughnut and a crispy piece of chicken.
A DJ kept things lively by keeping with the “Hee Haw” theme and playing popular country songs, but he mixed things up and got the crowd to raise their glasses and sing along to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” and Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.”
Since it was a rather warm afternoon, most of the cold mini-pours went down smoothly, while other not-so-tasty selections were used to water the grass. Though we certainly didn’t try all the 80-plus offerings, we tried enough of a variety to come up with the top five craft beers of the Brew Hee Haw Craft Beer Roundup.
Acoustic Ales Brewing, San Diego: Hopski
A traditional-style lager with a hint of tangerine juice that made for a light and crisp beer. It was perfect for the hot summer day.
Bootleggers Brewery, Fullerton: El Chango
Each year there’s a clear trend at the beer fests, whether it’s cask…