CA Craft Beer Summit 2018 Recap and Thoughts on Move to Long Beach
The California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) is responsible for one incredible multifaceted and well-run beer event, period. They call it CA Craft Beer Summit and it combines beer education and trends alongside an expo, beer tastings, food pairings and “Tap Talks”. The event culminates with a massive beer festival on the California State Capitol Mall, featuring 170 of California’s breweries.
The Tap Talks bring in some of the most influential industry leaders to share their insights and takes on beer and the culture surrounding it, 2018 was no different. Greg Koch of Stone Brewing, Chris Cramer of Karl Strauss and Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller were three of the heavy hitters, but you need to check out the entire lineup to get a real sense of the topics covered by some of the most interesting people in beer. Seminar Schedule
The Summit is geared towards industry but is open to the public. This lends itself to offer an incredible insight that the public rarely sees. With multiple ticketing options, they certainly give great opportunities for everyone’s time and financial budgets.
On The Move
2018 was the final year in Sacramento, at least for a while. The convention center is going to be torn down and won’t be available for the next two years. So the 2019 Summit will be moving to Long Beach, California.
While the move is a bummer for the local Sacramento breweries, restaurants and beer enthusiasts, I think this is an incredible chance to take this event to the next level. While Sacramento is a great host, the ability to add variety that will come with the Southern California move is enormous. Over the past few years, many SoCal breweries have opted out of the Summit. Travel costs and the fact many don’t actively distribute to Northern California make it hard to justify the effort. The concentration of breweries within a few hours of Long Beach will make for an incredible event. If you needed an extra bonus, how about that weather? This past weekend, Long Beach was close to 20 degrees cooler than Sacramento.
Yes, the 2019 Summit is a year away, but the real question is why? Why should you attend even if you don’t live in California? Seriously, if the past is any representation of the future, this three-day event is an outstanding way to learn about and try some of the finest beer that California has to offer. There is no better way to start or end a California beer vacation then by trying to figure out how to sample and appreciate 450+ beers from some of the finest breweries the State has to offer. In all seriousness, this really is a beer lovers dream. The Summit is almost like a mini State of California Beer Week. Tap takeovers, beer dinners and special beer events make this an ideal way to get your beer on.
What to Change
I’m sure the CCBA is working on the details. And although I have attended the previous four summits, I don’t think they are looking for my recommendations, but why would I let that stop me from throwing a few out.
- Rotation of Host City – It’s about time, and let’s keep it going. California is a huge state with plenty of areas to share the beer love. Sacramento, Long Beach (or maybe Anaheim in the future) and San Diego sound like a perfect trifecta. With Sacramento out of commission for a few years, this seems like an ideal opportunity.
- Homebrewing – I know homebrewing is not part of the CCBA, but I would love to see a just little more homebrewing education added back to the seminars. It’s a perfect gateway.
Wrapping Things Up
If you’re tired of the same old beer fest, check this one out. There are not too many beer events where you get to learn and rub elbows with the pros, all while drinking some fantastic beer.