Modern Times hosted a beer festival called The Festival of Dankness on August 22, 2015 to benefit BikeSD, a charity that is dedicated to making San Diego more bike friendly. This beer festival focused primarily on hoppy beers but also had a few other styles to taste as well. To make the festival more bike friendly, the festival was held in Downtown San Diego at the new Waterfront Park that is easily accessible by bike, trolley, train, and bus. I was able to grab a ride down and take a bus most of the way home with ease.
Among the breweries featured were some big name local breweries (Stone, Coronado, Rip Current, Alpine, Modern Times), some other California breweries (Monkish, Cellarmaker, Noble Ale Works, Almanac, Three Weavers, Knee Deep), and a number of out-of-state breweries (Boneyard, De Garde, Cigar City, Half Acre). Most of them brought along their best hoppy beers and a few brought along some sours or other styles. Rip Current even brought along a bock beer that was very popular as well.
This was my first time attending a beer festival. In the past I have volunteered to pour beer and enjoyed the experience but I usually don’t want to pay the money or have an easy way to get to the festival without driving. Modern Times did a great job organizing the event and everything ran smoothly. VIPs were given an extra hour before everyone else and even as a general admission ticket holder I didn’t miss out on anything because of it. I found that it was absolutely worth getting in line 40 minutes before the event started so that I could beat the crowds. It is better to leave early after trying what you want than to miss out on things and face longer lines. I left about 45 minutes early once I had what I wanted to try.
I tasted a total of 37 beers (in 2 ounce tasters) so I won’t try to review everything I tried. However, I will give a rundown of some of the most impressive beers I tasted. Some were predictably awesome, like the two special beers Modern Times was pouring, Floating World (an IPA made with South African Hops) and Mega Blazing (an imperial version of the popular Blazing World) and others gave me some indication that I absolutely have to visit certain out of state breweries at one point (though visiting Almanac is not possible currently because they don’t have a tasting room).
My favorite beers from the festival were the following: Modern Times Floating World and Mega Blazing, Boneyard Notorious IIIPA, De Garde Bruinette, Highland Park Raised Eyebrows, Monkish Rara Avis and Selah, Phantom Carriage Mosaic Muis, Almanac Citra Sour, Three Weavers Session IPA and Rye IPA.
I was already a big fan of Monkish and it was great to try some awesome specialty brett beers that they don’t make available to the public generally. The two they brought were both delicious. Three Weavers surprised me because I hadn’t heard much about them before despite being up in LA so I will absolutely be stopping by Three Weavers the next time I am in town. They are quite close to El Segundo Brewing as well, a brewery I skipped at the festival because I had their beers before. Highland Park brewery surprised me with a complex sour from a small brewery I did not know existed. The brewery opened inside a bar up in LA called The Hermosillo. Based on what I tasted it is worth visiting them when you are in town.
Overall I was very impressed by the selection of beers offered at the Festival of Dankness and it was a great time to be had by all, though I did leave with some minor sun burns. It was really great to be able to have so many breweries present that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to visit very easily. I hope they will have a similar event next year.