Friday and Saturday, the Jack Rose Track and Field at Cal State Long Beach was transformed into a mecca for craft beer lovers to indulge their hoppy needs.
Hundreds of people from around the community flocked to the field for one beer after the other at the first ever Craft Beer Festival at CSULB.
Students, alumni and all craft beer enthusiasts over 21 were welcome to join the 50+ breweries local to Long Beach, other parts of California and beyond.
The breweries were accompanied by food vendors like Food Should Taste Good, who were giving away samples, as well as live bands and food trucks. To top it all off, guests had a wide open area to play giant Jenga, cornhole and life-size-foosball.
Though over 1,000 attendees showed up to share their passion for craft beer, the event did not host many current CSULB students. This was either because the price of $49 was too steep for an afternoon of drinking, because they are under 21 – or the target demographic just so happened to be middle-aged craft brewery fans.
There were, however, a good number of student volunteers. Some 49er Shops employees came for work, while others gave up their time just for the promise of free beer.
“[I volunteered] just because I wanted to go, but without paying,” said event staff volunteer and junior studio art major Krista Paulsen. “Once my shift ends, we get free samples of beer and we got free food.”
Paulsen said she was a little regretful she didn’t buy a ticket, because she wished she could walk around and experience the festival in its entirety.
The 49er Shops organized the event that has people wondering what being a dry campus really means.
“I feel like we’re the least dry campus. Aren’t all campuses dry campuses?” said volunteer Matt Shellhammer, junior electrical engineer major. “So this is, like, the least dry campus, because we have two places on this campus that serve alcohol already.”
What makes the school a dry campus is its prohibition of alcohol on campus outside of licensed university premises and approved sponsored events. The 49er shops had to file for approval to host the event, which was granted by administration and supported by CSULB President Jane Close Conoley.
Breweries like Saint Archer from San Diego were out promoting their new or seasonal ales.
“This definitely gets out our brand awareness, lets people know more about our beer,” David Gatlin, LA representative for Saint Archer said. “We brought our newest beer, our Citrus 7 IPA. There’s very limited amount and I wanted everyone to get a taste. You’re paying a good amount to be in here, I wanted to bring at least one of our solid, good new beers.”
49er shops is a non-profit organization that circulates its profits back into the school. Proceeds for the beer fest are going toward building facilities for the growing hospitality management program at CSULB.
It was a fitting cause for this well organized event. The beer was cold, the food was good and the port-a-potties were surprisingly clean.
“The nice thing about it is everyone is pretty happy,” said bookstore employee Xareni Ramirez, who was working a merchandise booth. “So that’s always nice.”
In fact, the festival was perhaps too well organized. With so many taps dolling out two-ounce pour after pour, there was virtually no waiting for that next beer. In the three hour window, one could drink enough beer to get completely hammered if that was their goal, and it seems like it was for some people.
Upon leaving the event, most guests were very talkative and friendly; some were stumbling and there was even a guy hurling cascades of vomit into the trash can by the food trucks. Though some left physically ill, everyone attending the Craft Beer Fest was in high spirits.