range County Fairgrounds and Brew HaHa Productions paired up to bring Orange County the 4th annual Brew Hee Haw. Attendees were able to try over 80 craft beers from vendors all over the country with unlimited tastings during two sessions of four hours each.
Multiple Brew HaHa event attendee, Danielle Martell, 48, raised her glass in line for a sour and to help her community. “Brew HaHa in Irvine started a whole thing with a charity for firefighters and raising money for scholarships for kids that need to go to school. I love craft beer. Slowly over time I became a beer aficionado and realized there is more than cheap beer out there. I fell in love with Stouts and IPA.”
Brew HaHa Productions holds seven annual events in Orange County and is the largest craft beer event producers in the county. Conceived on September 11, 2010, Brew HaHa Productions makes donations to many Orange County charities and non-profits including Fallen Firefighters Relief Fund, Cystic Fibrosis, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters as a way to give back to the community.
Brew Hee Haw was a sold out event, and every brewer had a line of eager participants. Homemade pretzel necklaces adorned many Hee Haw participants and are the pinnacle of craft beer fashion. A Dj played a mix of Latin, and American music and acoustics of laughter and chatter filled the pop-up tents. During an intermission Journey came on the loud speakers and a pause of silence filled the air quickly followed by every attendee joining in on ‘Don’t stop believin.’ Orange County really loves its Journey.
Aside from the music, vibes and all-around high spirits here are the best in show:
Pink Vapor Stew by Ska Brewing, Durango, Colorado.
The neon pink glow of this libation reinforces the name and is fun to carry around even if only for the looks. This sour was by far my favorite at the roundup. The three-ounce sampler chalices given out for tastings was not enough for me. I must have made the trek to this back corner booth five or six times before committing to ask where I could buy this fabulous beer. Ska Brewing has a sub-brewery called Mod Project which allows Ska brewers to produce mod beers in large quantities. Pink Vapor Stew was Mod Projects first release and contains citra and galaxy hops as well as a 5.10% ABV.
Self-proclaimed wine drinker and Orange County resident Lauren Fredrickson, 31, came out to the round up for a birthday party. “I like sours because I don’t like beer. I went to Good Beer Brewing, and I love it. I went back three times already!”
Tropikolsch by No Clue Craft Brewery, Rancho Cucamonga, California.
This Kolsch has lemon drop and mosaic hops as well as pineapple and mango juice and a 5.40% ABV. Light and refreshing this beer threw me back to a Beach Boys state of mind: “This time of year in our hometown the country fair comes our way, where the folks gather to be happy and spend their day.” Brew HaHa Productions
The Patsy Coconut Rye Stout by Barley Forge Brewing Company, Costa Mesa, California.
Brewed with chocolate, caramel, toasted coconut and rye grain this is the lightest stout to tingle your senses. This stout is so refreshing and crisp it’s hard to believe it has 6.0% ABV. Characteristically, stouts are heavy and produce a thick head, The Patsy had a nice smooth blend in its consistency, and the head complemented the after taste leaving hints of chocolate to ruminate with the strong, full-bodied coconut. Brew HaHa Productions
Ginga Ninja by 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Corvallis, Oregon.
Ciders were few and far between at the Hee Haw. However, this ginger potion was the clear stand-out. Reminiscent of ginger beer, Northwest apples help level out the sweet and spicy ginger root. The high alcohol content of this cider, 6.0% ABV, makes this a very dangerously delicious adult juice. Brew HaHa Productions
Beeline Honey Ale by Track 7 Brewing, Sacramento, California.
Munich and Vienna malts with German and Czech hops create a sturdy base for this ale allowing real Sacramento wildflower honey to bring out a dry finish. The honey separates the flavors on the tongue to get a true taste of each ingredient and please all flavor receptors. Beeline Honey Ale is the real deal without overcompensating on sweetness and maintaining a 5.2% ABV.
Enemy Within, Black Market Brewing, Temecula, California.
As far as IPA’s go, Enemy Within holds its own against even double or triple IPA’s. An intimidating 7.0% ABV would suggest a bulky density however the surprise is in the dragon fruit puree. Lemon drop, mosaic, Citra and Columbus hops keep the integrity of a traditional IPA, and the dragon fruit twists everything around turning this IPA into an anomaly. This was definitely one of the brewers I visited many times at the Hee Haw and each time the Enemy Within was turned into more of an old drinking buddy. Fun, mysterious and sure to have a good story.
Check out Brew HaHa Productions other events here and grab your pretzel necklaces to saddle up for the 8th Annual Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival on September 23rd. Tickets are on sale now!