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International cast of all-star brewers highlights the Festival in San Pedro

More than 70 of the world’s best brewers from more than a dozen countries will be pouring their beers under one roof in San Pedro next week when the Festival comes to Southern California.

The Festival, named one of the seven best beer festivals in the country by CNN, brings a roster of brewing superstars to Los Angeles to pour and talk about their wares.

Produced by Massachusetts-based Shelton Brothers, which has been importing beers from small producers across the globe for nearly two decades, and previously held in Portland, Maine, the festival is moving after San Pedro native Brian Mercer, who’s working to open his Brouwerij West production facility next year, persuaded the organizers to change coasts.

The Festival features beers and brewers from dozens of European breweries, including favorites like Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen and De Ranke alongside some of the best in American craft beer, including many brews that are rarely seen in California. From the legendary Hill Farmstead and Jester King to the hottest newcomers like Treehouse Brewery and Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co., the list of participants reads like a dedicated beer hunter’s bucket list.

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There will also be a healthy contingent of California brewers, including local favorites Beachwood Brewing, the Bruery and Monkish; stalwarts Telegraph Brewing and Firestone Walker; and hyped newcomers Faction Brewing, Cellermaker, Tahoe Mountain Brewing and Sante Adairius.

The event will be held in the Crafted space in San Pedro on Nov. 8 and 9 with two sessions each day. Tickets are $45 for one session, $85 for all day and $160 for all four sessions. Once inside the sprawling ex-Navy warehouse, you’ll need a drink ticket ($1 each or 25 for $20) for each two-ounce pour.

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FOR THE RECORD

9:50 a.m.: An earlier version of this post misstated the dates of the Festival as Nov. 7 and 8. The event is Nov. 8 and 9.

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It’s tough to overstate just how big of a deal the Festival is, and what it means to the developing craft beer culture in Los Angeles. “It’s going to be epic,” says Gabe Gordon, founder of Beachwood Brewing, who first attended the Festival in 2012.

“This is why we all got involved in beer. To ... get all these people in a room, with fresh beer, to celebrate how awesome international beer is. I’m just stoked.”

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Freshness is one reason the Festival is a bargain, even at $1 per taste: Many of the beers being featured, even the ones we can get normally in Los Angeles, are being flown in especially for the event and won’t be subjected to the usual rigors of beer importation like long ocean journeys and cross-country trucking. Attendees will have the chance to taste brews from Europe that are only days, not months, old.

Gordon, and every other beer geek that I spoke to, is most excited about meeting the brewers behind these renowned beers, and founder Dan Shelton says that relationships formed at the Festival have led to new distribution agreements and collaboration beers between brewers separated by oceans.

But even for people who may not care for all the inside baseball, Shelton says, the Festival will be fun, because “the beers are going to be really, really good. Even if you don’t talk to anybody, you’re going to really enjoy the beers. I guarantee that if you do any kind of exploring at all at this festival you will find new things that will make you think again about what beer is and how good it can be.”

Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, 112 E. 22nd St. No. 10, San Pedro, (310) 732-1270.

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