Orange County Brew Ha Ha Beer Festival to highlight local breweries

Festival-goers at a previous Brew Ha Ha event. This year's program in Silverado will celebrate the rise of craft beer in Orange County with unlimited tastings of local breweries like Barley Forge and Noble Ale Works. (Courtesy of Brew Ha Ha Productions)

The Orange County Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival will return Sept. 15 for its ninth year with live entertainment, backyard games, gourmet food and unlimited tastings from Artifex Brewing, Bottle Logic, Chapman Crafted, Bootleggers Brewing and other local and regional players.

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“This is a festival for the beer lover,” said Cameron Collins, co-founder of San Clemente-based Brew Ha Ha Productions. “There’s a lot of entertainment, but the focus is to come and enjoy the beer, talk to the brewers and learn more about the breweries. We are not a drinking festival — we are a tasting festival.”

Many of the breweries planning to participate in the Silverado festival are local, including Tustin Brewing, Barley Forge in Costa Mesa, Noble Ale Works in Anaheim, Docent Brewing in San Juan Capistrano and TAPS Brewing in Brea. Regional breweries like San Diego’s Burgeon and Alameda’s Faction also plan to pour.

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Brewers will attend so festival-goers can ask them questions and learn more about their products and the craft that goes into making them.

With a yacht rock theme, festival grounds will be festooned with seafaring decorations, and the band Captain’s Quarters will perform.

The festival will take place at Lakeview Park, which overlooks Irvine Lake.

Organizers moved the festival site from its original location, Oak Canyon Park, in order to improve cell reception and the overall experience, Collins said.

Uber and other ride-sharing services aren’t available in the area, and the winding canyon roads can be dangerous. The festival will offer a complementary shuttle service to ferry festival-goers to and from the Tustin Metrolink station, where they can order a ride or take a bus or a train.

In case they drink too much, attendees can leave their cars at the festival grounds overnight.

Collins and his family founded Brew Ha Ha Productions in 2010.

“We didn't really care if we made money,” Collins said. “We just felt that Orange County needed a beer festival.”

The event has swelled — 3,500 are expected this year— along with the organization, which Collins said organized more than 50 festivals this year. More than 90 are slated for 2019.

“Festivals have gotten more popular along with the rise of craft breweries in Orange County,” Collins said.

If You Go

What: Brew Ha Ha Craft Beer Festival

When: 1 to 4 p.m., Sept. 15

Where: Lakeview Park, 5305 E. Santiago Canyon Road, Silverado

Cost: General admission is $45 and comes with unlimited tastings. VIP admission is $60 and designated-driver tickets are $20. A portion of the proceeds will go toward Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire.

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