Volunteering at a Beer Festival

As I mentioned in my last post, I attended the San Diego Winter Brew Fest on Friday then volunteered at it on Saturday. You may be wondering: what does “volunteering” look like at a beer festival? Is it as charitable and good-natured as it sounds?

Well, yes. It usually involves dedicating 4-5 hours to doing one of the following activities: setting up and helping check vendors and breweries in, pouring beer for attendees, or cleaning up. And you absolutely cannot drink during your shift. So why do people do it? For me, a) I really enjoy pouring beer, and b) volunteering meant that I got in to the festival on Friday for free! With so many beer festivals in San Diego this spring, a girl’s gotta be a little economical.


I was lucky enough to get to pour beers for Stone Brewing Co. Holy moly. Does it get any better than that? My boyfriend and I got the luxury of giving out 2 oz. tastes of their Japanese Green Tea IPA and Stone Levitation Ale (a hoppy amber) for several hours. People went crazy for the Green Tea IPA. It was the clear winner even though we were pouring one of the last kegs of Levitation–it’s being phased out very soon.

Stone had two reps on hand to answer in-depth questions from beer festival attendees. It was really nice to have them there because we were swamped the whole time!


For the last two hours of the festival, we were moved to Rip Current Brewing’s booth so that we could relieve one of the other volunteers. We’d recently visited their new location in North Park, so we were excited to see that the owner and brewer, Paul, was there! To be honest, I was pretty starstruck. It’s still so cool to me to get to meet people who make good beer.

We poured Rip Current’s Marine Layer San Diego-style Hefeweizen and Lupulin Lust IPA. I’m a big fan of Lupulin Lust, so I was happy to get to share it with others! Both beers got pretty equal love from attendees.


All in all, it was a lot of fun to volunteer. We were lucky and didn’t have too many rowdy visitors. It requires lots of standing and lots of chatting, so you have to be prepared for that, but you get to meet a lot of cool fellow beer nerds. While I’m definitely more of a fan of participating at–ahem, drinking at–beer festivals, it was worth it to get a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like working behind the table!



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