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This was Carmagedon weekend when all lanes of 405 highway was closed through Sepulveda pass. This might not mean anything to most of you but it’s actually a pretty big deal. The 405 over the Sepulveda pass is one of the highways with the most traffic in the country. They decided to close the highway on the day of the year when there is the least amount of traffic. 500,000 cars, that is as low as it gets. So 500,000 cars need to find another way to get from south coastal Los Angels and San Diego to the valley and north and reverse. The options are not that many. Media predicted a total chaos but it seams like they where wrong. People just realized that it was a bad day for big plans. People stayed in their neighborhoods and did fun things there. Many of them went to Eat Real Festival at Helms Bakery in Culver City. And many took their bikes to the festival. The closing of the 405 maybe had some positive effects on the LA traffic and on people changing their behavior, at least temporary.

The Eat Real Festival is a celebration to good local quality food. You learn where food comes from, who makes it and how it grows and how it’s made. The event has plenty of food demos by experts in their filed. Eat Real also have a great mission. It’s to revitalize and re-energize American Food and make better quality, healthier and less processed food available. The festival has local bread, meat, nuts, olives, ice cream, chocolate, coffee and much more. And as always there were plenty of the famous LA food trucks. Whole Foods Market had the best food truck, the Green Truck On The Go. Their hamburger beef comes from grass fed cows and was freshly ground the evening before. The best hamburgers I have had yet in the LA area is from Whole Foods Market in Venice and the Green Truck.

The Eat Real Festival also had beer from local breweries. My favorite local brewery is probably Eagle Rock. The Eagle Rock Manifesto is a Belgian style slightly sweet and refreshing wheat beer with hints of coriander and citrus. Hanger 24 is another brewery that brews good beer. Their Orange Wheat have a refreshing wheat flavor and a tone of orange. This is a prefect beer for a warm summer day. Maybe not very local but still a good brewery is Ballast Point. Their pale ale has a great balance and is a very drinkable pale ale.

As a former beer festival manager I always look at a beer event from that point of view.  At the World Beer Festival our mission was to “educate the public in beer appreciation and beer quality and build the local beer community”. What I often miss at many festivals is the education element. Many festival organizers miss the opportunity to provide just the basic information about beer. It doesn’t take much. Some information signs and handouts is a pretty easy thing to have. Nothing of that was present at the festival. One of the demos was about beer, which is good. Having information about beer and people that can talk about beer makes the beer more than just to attract people. Why not partner with a home brew club. They can show home brewing and talk beer at the beer garden. The volunteers did a good job but too many lack the knowledge about beer. And I think great craft beer deserves better especially at an event like this that have so much to offer in information about good food. Having sample pours is essential at any event that wants to promote quality beer. At the Eat Real Festival you pay $5 for a good size glass (in this case a jar) of beer. That doesn’t promote responsible drinking and trying different kind of beers. An event – Eat Real included – that want to educate the public in beer appreciation need to have small 2-4 oz pours at a reduced price so you can sample many different kind of beer without the risk of over consuming. Eat Real is despite this a good event.  I will gladly come back next year and maybe even volunteer, talking and pouring beer of course.

I have to mention the Handsome Coffee guys. They are starting a coffee roastery here in Los Angeles. When they talked about coffee and what they are doing I could feel their passion for coffee the same passion that many in the beer business and beer community have for beer. I also learned that brewing beer and brewing coffee have many things in common, much more than just adding coffee in a stout. I’m looking forward to see their coffee in the Los Angeles area soon.