Attend a beer festival in a former church? Check.


Last Friday was the Bankers Hill Craft Beer and Art Festival. I wrote about how excited I was to check out the venue last week, and I thought it was really cool. The Abbey used to be a church! Going to a beer festival at a place like that makes my former-Catholic-school-girl self a little too happy. I thought the location was very Bankers Hill: quirky and unexpected. There were two floors of breweries, art exhibits, and food vendors. At times it was a challenge to get through the crowds–especially upstairs where breweries were set up in tight spaces–but toward the end of the night, it was much easier to move around.








In addition to the location, a unique part of this beer festival was that there were several artists and small business owners selling their work. Along with photographs and paintings, local vendors like Sew Loka (handmade wallets and pouches), Velapure (soy candles), and Stella Divina (custom beer coasters) were selling their handmade products. I need to get in on those beer coasters next time…


And onto the beer!

First off, I was thrilled to see Stone with their Pale Ale. I’m so bummed that it’s being phased out! I know, I know–they’re coming out with a newer version, but still. It has nostalgic value to me. I may have shrieked when I saw it.

Other highlights of the night: Groundswell Brewing’s Piloncillo Brown was a real standout. It’s made with panela, unrefined whole cane sugar from Mexico that gives it some extra kick. I also enjoyed Lightning‘s Elemental Pilsner. I’m always on the lookout for beers that are perfect for every day light drinking, and I could definitely keep that stocked in my fridge.

What I liked most about this beer festival was that in addition to the San Diego mainstays (Stone, Ballast Point, AleSmith, Green Flash), there were smaller breweries that I don’t always see at festivals. Unfortunately, I had been looking forward to sampling food from several local restaurants, but everything but Pizzicato was gone by the time I arrived around 6:30. For some reason I’m noticing that happening quite a bit lately at many of the beer festivals.

Nevertheless, it was nice to be out and about in my neighborhood and to see several familiar faces and breweries in my little corner of the world. Many thanks to the Bankers Hill Business Group for having me!

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