Friday, March 2, 2012

Inland Empire Brewing Company’s Third Anniversary Festival

The Taste of Brews crew headed out to the IE this past weekend for Inland Empire Brewing Company’s Third Anniversary Festival.  The large and enthusiastic crowd was treated to the latest offerings from Packinghouse, Big Cheese, Taps, Main Street Brewery, Left Coast, Bootleggers, Hangar 24, Noble Ale and Dale’s among others; and completely dispelled the notion that the IE doesn’t embrace Craft Beer.  Hopefully this is a good omen for Taste of Brews, which is heading to Riverside’s White Park on Saturday, June 2.

Our first trip to the IE Brew Co. was well worth the drive from Huntington Beach.  We arrived early and were directed to nearby parking by the excellent group of volunteers.  Attendees entered through the tasting room and were offered the choice of $2 samples from IE Brew Co. or $30 for unlimited 4 ounce tastes from all the participating breweries.  For those of us who were there for the beginning, it was an amazing smorgasbord of flavors without having to throw any elbows!

We were particularly fond of Bootlegger’s Knuckle Sandwich Double IPA and braved the hordes for a couple of refills when they taped the special keg around 3 p.m.  Barbara liked the variety of citrus-infused offerings and I was partial to the bold IPA at Packinghouse which Scot Koury said was an 8.5 percenter.

We were somewhat surprised, but gratified to see the various food trucks in attendance (Short Rib BBQ, Gourmet Genie and Stella Pierre) having been forewarned that the city had been cracking down on these recently.  Paring craft beer with a variety of food types is essential, and the upscale food trucks are the easiest way to access that.

Congrats to everyone at Inland Empire Brewing Company.  It was a great event and everyone at Taste of Brews is looking forward to next year’s event.

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