Three bands, including headliners Ozomatli, and 18 local beers are the main focus of the afternoon festival, which begins at 2 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m. Twelve familiar varieties will be available on tap: Listed in order of ascending assertiveness, they include Woodie Gold, Endless Summer Light, Karl Strauss Amber Lager, Red Trolley Ale, Windansea Wheat Hefeweizen, Downtown After Dark Brown Ale, Stargazer I.P.A., Mindin Maibock, Padre Porter, Balboa's Vintage Barleywine, Oatmeal Stout and the never-before-tasted Belgian Wit Bier. The first seven can be found throughout San Diego County, while the remaining five are special release beers available seasonally at the brewery's restaurant locations only.
The event also provides Karl Strauss brewers with a venue to display their craftsmanship by creating six one-of-a-kind brews served from traditional Firkin casks.
"[Firkins] are old school kegs where the beer is conditioned inside the keg," said Paul Timm, vice president of marketing and sales for Karl Strauss.
Firkins create all-natural carbonation and do not require modern gas pressure to push beer from the keg to the glass. In fact, the kegs are tapped by driving a spigot through the front with a wooden mallet, resulting in a spray of strong, boldly flavored beer.
"We experiment and play around with different recipes. Our brewers have a lot of fun with [the Firkin beers]," Timm said.
This year, the brewers have prepared a Whiskey Porter, Vanilla Stout, Passion Fruit Hefeweizen, Dry Hopped Red Trolley Ale, Dry Hopped Stargazer IPA and Maple Oatmeal Stout. Dry hopped refers to the addition of extra hops during fermentation.
The brewing process will be explained at the event during tours of the facility, which produces 60,000 kegs annually. The brewery is not generally open to the public, making the tours a special occasion.
Throughout the day, three local bands will keep the crowd entertained. Ocean Beach band Cape May will take the stage at 2:15 p.m., followed by Stranger, a reggae group that includes a Karl Strauss brewer. Ozomatli begins between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Those familiar with the event know that there is a bike caravan to the Rose Canyon brewery, 5985 Santa Fe St., that leaves from the Pacific Beach library, 4275 Cass St., at 2 p.m. The San Diego Bicycle Club organizes the ride, which takes about 30 minutes and is expected to draw a few hundred people.
"The bike ride is a bit of an insiders approach to the event," Timm said. "They take a path from the library through the beach community, down through Crown Point and then up the Rose Canyon bike path, ending here at the brewery."
Timm encourages bikes, carpooling and alternate transportation, as parking is very limited on site. Free shuttles in yellow school buses will be available to and from the event from two locations: the Pacific Beach library and Dusty Rhodes Park in Ocean Beach at the corner of West Point Loma and Sunset Cliffs Boulevards. The rides start at 1:30 p.m. and will leave for the festival on the half-hour until 5:30 p.m. Shuttles from the event will operate until everyone has been returned. Budget vans with hitches will transport bikers and their bikes to Pacific Beach beginning at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $15 if purchased online by Friday afternoon, $20 at the door if supplies last. They include admission and five 3-ounce samples of beer. All proceeds will benefit the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation to be used for beach cleanups, advocacy and environmental activism.
"Ultimately the idea is to support the local community and support the local music and local breweries and do something great for a good nonprofit like the Surfrider Foundation," Timm said.
For more information, call (858) 273-BREW or visit www.karlstrauss.com.