Participants made their own carrot pickles with hops at the Wild Brew Fest.

Culture Club

Wild Brew Fest Adds a Kick to Annual Fermentation Festival

The annual Fermentation Festival, produced by Cultivate Events celebrates fermented food and drink with a slew of exhibits, speakers and activities. This year, the company decided to add a Wild Brew Fest to kick up the hops. The event held on Sunday, March 6 reveled in all things cultured with more than 20 regional vendors at the SOhO Restaurant and Music Club.

Kombucha, fermented spreads, ciders and (of course) beer were some highlights of the evening. Participants could even make their own pickled carrots at a DIY pickle stand (pictured below), sponsored by Pacific Pickle Works.

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Vendors like Telegraph Brewing Company’s brewer Patrick Ceriale led informational talks on various aspects of brewing, and event goers got to taste various fermented products.

Organized by Cultivate Events Director Katie Hershfelt, the event aimed to educate about traditional brewing and wild fermented alcoholic beverages in a fun and welcoming space. Often, people can be intimidated by home brewing, but this event was informative and inspiring. For participant and home brewer William Lambert, it was a fun night out.

“I came to taste and get inspiration,” he said. “It’s great to pick people’s brains about different brewing techniques.” His favorite beverage at the event came from home brewers Elliot Merrick and Galen MacDougall who offered a rosemary and sage pale ale.

Other favorites of the night were a mead from Bees Brother’s Brewing, a tart plum cider from Mission Trail Cider Company and a soon-to-be-released persimmon brandy from Ventura Spirits.

“This is awesome,” said Nate Adamski of See Canyon Hard Cider. The micro cidery, based near Avila Beach, offered a sampling of its hard ciders—from Champagne-style to their classic. Adamski said he wouldn’t comment on his favorite cider, but said he enjoyed Valley Brewers’ sour beer.

Throughout the event, SOhO, Bob Appétite! and Pretzel Guild offered nibbles that would soak up the alcohol, and SOhO bartenders served kombucha cocktails and other winners from Wild Brew Fest Cocktail Competition, which was held separately on February 22. The evening ended at 6pm, and participants left with a souvenir glass and a little more information on wild yeast. Skoal to a good turnout and local brewers.

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Top Left: Mission Trail Cider Company based in Bradley—their plum cider was one of the evening’s favorites. Top Right: Ventura Spirits offered samplings of their yet-to-be-released brandy and sherry, including the “P,” a persimmon brandy. Middle: Tasting mead at Bees Brother’s Brewing. Bottom: Cutler’s Artisan Spirits brought a variety of libations, including their vodka-based Grandma Tommies’s Apple Pie liqueur. Photos by Urmila Ramakrishnan.


Urmila Ramakrishnan is a freelance writer and Edible Santa Barbara writing fellow from The Culinary Trust. She lives to eat, drink, write and experiment with leftovers. Follow her writing and sports adventures on her blog Jiu-Jitsu and Jalebi.

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