May 09, 2009
by Richard Thompson

Karl Strauss : Beach To Brewery

Karl Strauss Brewery | 5/9/2009

With ten minutes before the slated departure time and with no sign of anyone else on bikes looking like they were heading anywhere besides the beach I found myself confused and ready to pack my bike back into the truck. Within the next ten minutes drolls of rushing and confused bikers congregated at the PB Library. Around the same time event officials arrived scurrying and struggling to prop their Beach to Brewery tent. An event official began approaching people in an unorganized fashion to sign a waiver release form. Although the take off time was slated to be at 1:30 it seemed to be the time of arrival for most and the day was off to a slow start. After the event official tried to get as many waiver release forms signed as possible the start of the ride was marked by an official photo of the crew that was going to make the trek by means of bicycle; whether it was beach cruiser, mountain, or road bike, or a combination of the sort.

The apprehensive crowd woo’d and began blindly riding until they chose a leader to follow. As the ride carried on its Critical Mass-esque trek which consisted of mainly beach cruisers there were cars cheering us on along the way with their horns and hollering. There was a stoplight or two run through by the 150+ at this point as it seemed the group was growing with riders joining along the way. Traffic jams were well in effect by way of beach cruisers galore. There were jokes were being made about BUI’s being  in order on the ride back, which was just the beginning of it.

After working up a thirst, reaching the venue following the brisk 4 mile ride we arrived just in time for Delta Spirit’s opening set. Waiting in line to get in you could hear their anthemic drums in their opening song. The soulful Americana indie rock quintet, who’s currently touring with The Shins, was passionate and entertaining while switching up instruments throughout songs. At a point, one of the guitarists was banging on a tambourine attached to an old school aluminum trashcan top. They also had an extra large bass drum and snare accompanying them on stage at points in which they’d break off into a drumming tangent. Ending their set, lead singer Matt Vasquez displayed his multitasking abilities while he simultaneously played guitar and harmonica. For the people that got there late there seemed to be a buzz about t hem, having the sense they had missed out.


Included with your entrance wristband were five little taster tabs conveniently attached to it that allowed you five tasters to whichever beer of your likingThe beer booths had little stands laid out on the tables describing the beer along with the alcohol content. With five tasters included you had to choose wisely, and I found myself drawn to the ones with the bigger numbers in accordance with ALCBV percentage. The Belgian Abbey Red was my first pick, it reminded me of a gourmet Belgian waffle that had tastes of plum, raisin, and caramel with a slightly spicy and warming, smooth finish. As I went down the line of booths I found myself being peer pressured into choosing Barelywine with the enthusiasm of the guy hosting the booth, drawing me in making me feel like I was at a frat party of some sort for a minute. I finally gave in with the numbers looking right and offered my wrist to have one of my precious taster tabs to be taken. One of the downside of the events was finding out there was no option to purchase more taster tickets, but only straight beer tickets at $5 a piece. With 20 different beers to choose from I didn’t feel like I was getting the full experience. However, as the day progressed and intoxication ensued I was intent onexploiting ways of tasting all the beer I could.



The second band up was Stranger, a local reggae band. Although I’m not a particular reggae fan, they were well put together and had an enjoyable sound and seemed to be the fan favorite. I found myself relaxed and pardoning the idiot that bumped into me causing me to spill beer all over myself. Following Stranger was another local band, Get Back Loretta, 2008 San Diego Music Award Winners for Best Pop. Based on checking out their songs prior to seeing them live I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of the indie-pop rock act but they ended up being one of those bands that were much better live. They had great energy all throughout their set and what I found particularly entertaining was their drummer who looked like he was thirteen.



In my quest for exploiting ways of tasting as many beers as I could I figured out if you had a little charm you were able to swindle yourself some more testers if not full on beers with the right booth tenders, especially as it got later in the evening. Whether it was them ripping the imaginary tabs I still had left or ripping off a part of the bracelet that wasn’t meant to be, I managed to part with beer in my hand and a smile on face with a wink to the lovely volunteers. Some beers to note were the Pineapple IPA which had a tropical pineapple aftertaste. There was also the Windansea Wheat Hefeweizen which had a very clean taste despite being unfiltered. Between the two 20th anniversary beers, the Dunkel and the Bourbon Aged Trippel, I had to go with the Trippel. They were both medium bodied but the oak-y aged flavor of the Trippel was keen to my taste buds not to mention it had an ALCBV of 10.2% which was the jackpot as far as alcohol content. I knew I had spent my last taster tab very wisely.



All throughout the event there were the ever annoying/entertaining mini-beach balls. You were more than likely spilling your beer or watching someone else spill theirs trying to smack the tempting and fun little beach balls. At one point someone served one square up in Tapes n Tapes’ keyboardist’s face, which he took lightly with a smile. Tapes n Tapes from Minneapolis, was the last band to round out the line upTheir sound had hints of Wolf Parade and Born Ruffians but a sound all their own, original enough to enjoy and familiar enough to draw you in. But by the time they played it didn’t really matter what type of music you were into as it seemed most everyone was just drunk and enjoying themselves. They were more concerned with getting their last drink before last call and still being distracted by the infamous mini-beach balls.



A lot of things were realized by the end of the evening. As with the beginning of the bike ride to the brewery being unorganized the ride back was about ten times that. Things got a bit sketchy on the way back as jokes of “BUI’s” seemed to becoming a reality as dusk was setting. Approaching Garnet there was a man bleeding from a gash on his forehead. It then became clear why they were having people sign wavier release forms at the beginning of the ride. While there seemed to be an every-man-for-himself-mentality, I carried on before dusk completely settled. As the sketchiness translated into fun for the thrill seeker in me cars’ honks turned into honks of frustration and annoyance rather than cheer. Luckily, I was able to meet with another handful of bikers down the road which helped guide me back to starting point with the disorientation of darkness and intoxication. Despite the unorganized hiccups, all in all Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Music Festival was a success. After all, it was for a good cause; to support the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

All photos by Michael Klayman

Tags: Delta Spirit, Karl Strauss, Beach to Brewery, Get Back Loretta, Tapes n' Tapes

No Comments

Leave a comment

Sezio will never publish your information