Summer Suds: California Beer Festival

The traveling showcase of the state's stellar foams -- plus brews beyond our borders -- is heading for Novato, Ventura...

THE VERY FIRST THING... to do, when you hear the large-scale California Beer Festival is gearing up for another summer season of visiting various Golden State towns with a whole caboodle of craft brewers in tow, is to find your stay for the night. That seems pretty straightforward, or, in lieu of finding a soft bed in the near vicinity, asking a bud to serve as a designated driver. Once those important tasks are done, you can get down to reviewing the wheres and the whos and the whats, as far as what top-notch brewhouses will be making the flavorful scene.

AS IS TRADITION, the festival will visit Marin County first in 2016, making a stop in Novato over the first weekend of June. Santa Cruz will follow, though not immediately -- Aug. 12 through 14 are the dates -- and San Dimas and Ventura are the September destinations. True, the organization behind the fest has expanded into the BBQ & Beer and Tequila & Taco realms, and those, too, have become well-known culinary gatherings. But the quartet of destinations has remained consistent for the CBF over the last several years, as have the fans in attendance, hundreds of brew buffs who line up their stays well in advance.

STAFFORD LAKE PARK... is the setting for the two-dayer in Novato, a happening which will give suds aficionados a chance to sample from the 85-plus craft brewers in attendance. There shall be food for purchase, and live tunes, and the second day -- "Sunday Funday" -- is new for the location in 2016. Just note that the beer sampling is solely a Saturday thing, though beer, along with the vittles, may be purchased on day #2. Ready to find your hotel and make your summer plans? If you can't do a brewery jaunt around California, this fest is a fine way to get acquainted with what our foam-focused masters are up to these days. Tickets, info, and more...

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