The sun was shining and the music was blaring last weekend at the annual Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point. This food writer took one for the team and decided to cover the best of the best at this basically perfect event.
I can’t address the wrestling or the music, but I know beer, and I know a good bite.
Here is a roundup of my Top 3 brews and some notable bites sampled at Sabroso. May it guide you toward well-played future beer and food choices at these awesome establishments.
Top 3 Brews
1. Docent Brewing Co.’s Canteen
It was sunny. I was sweaty and sunburned.
But the moment some cold Canteen hit my lips, all things became right with the world.
This bright ale by San Juan Capistrano-based Docent Brewing Co. exemplified the perfect drink for that Doheny weekend: unpretentious and smooth — a cold respite on the hot sand.
Canteen (4.5% alcohol by volume, or ABV) gets its flavor profile from German pilsner malt, honey, almond, spicy Magnum Saaz hops and rice. Pour one next time you check out Docent’s digs down in SJC.
2. Ace’s Space
After handing out hundreds of beer samples, the guy with a long ponytail behind the taps somehow still maintained a huge smile
He handed me a sampler of Space, an unfiltered blood orange craft cider by Sebastopol-based Ace. This Sonoma County business calls itself America’s first family-owned cider pub.
The guy noted Space’s 6.9% ABV and sweet kick.
“Space ale?” I remarked.
“Not a bad space to be in,” he replied.
3. Mother Earth Brew Co.’s Guava Kettle Sour
Sabroso attendees were treated to this special drink from Mother Earth Brew Co., a Vista-based brewery. The technical details of how guava and kettle — two words I have never associated with one another — came together are still hazy.
But in Sabroso’s scene, where IPAs started to taste the same, taster after taster, this one, with a 4.5% ABV, stood out.
1. The veggie taco from GoodFellas Taco Catering
I'm not a vegetarian. Veggie anything isn’t something I would order.
But this Paramount-based catering company has one heck of a veggie taco: two tortillas carrying a load of mushrooms, crunchy tortilla strips, purple onions, pepitas and a slathering of honey mustard sauce.
Order a few hundred plates of these from GoodFellas for your next vegetarian wedding.
2. The nachos from Memphis Tacos
At Sabroso, you want something that hits the spot the moment you need it to. That’s when Memphis Taco’s pulled pork and nacho cheese comes to the rescue.
The meat tasted sweet and savory, the chips offered a remarkably perfect crunch. At least one passerby noticed our impressively high meaty nacho stack and had to know where to get some.
3. “Soyrizo” tacos from Kitchen Culture Catering
These sweet and spicy tacos were a fun find from Anthony Plascencia's small business.
After the event, I learned the wonderful chorizo comes from Aurora’s Chorizo in downtown Santa Ana. Kitchen Culture Catering adds sautéed onions and garlic before cooking it in a Monterey and Oaxaca cheese mix. Next comes salsa de aguacate (avocado salsa), cilantro, onion and sides of limes and radishes.