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San Diego Festival of Beer: Celebrating the Finest Beers from California and Beyond

With world class attractions such as Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo and great weather year round, it’s no mystery why 34.9 million people visited San Diego in 2016. Travelers will love soaking up the ample sunshine on the city’s miles of pristine beaches, and coastal villages such as La Jolla offer water sports, unique eateries, and more. Don't miss a chance to visit the Gaslamp Quarter, which covers 16 blocks and features restaurants, shops, and a vibrant nightlife.


If you decide to visit the San Diego Festival of Beer this year, be sure to check out our list of California Resorts for your stay. 


The San Diego Festival of Beer, sponsored by The Port of San Diego, has been one of the leading beer events in San Diego for more than two decades, and it will take place September 22, at Broadway Pier. This year’s event will feature more than 120 craft beers from 40 breweries including Guinness, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and more. San Diego area bands will provide live music in three spaces, and the main stage will feature a variety of games and prizes. Attendees will also find lawn games throughout the event, and food trucks will serve everything from pretzels to pizza. 100% of the event's proceeds will go to more than 20 cancer-fighting charities. In fact, the event has donated more than $700,000 to families affected by cancer. We got the chance to interview Carrie Chandler, President of the Board, to learn about this long running beer event.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

CC: The 23rd Annual SD Festival of Beer is the longest running craft beer festival in San Diego. As the original beer festival in the city, this will be the 23rd year.


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?

CC: We anticipate anywhere from 1,000-2,000 attendees each year.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?

CC: The event is 21 and over, but a great social opportunity for birthday parties, company outings, fun night out with friends, and even some bachelor and bachelorette parties.


RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.

CC: This year's theme is Endless Summer to honor San Diego's best-kept secret - our summer starts once the tourists are gone. We'll have games and prizes on the main stage, a VW Vintage Bus Photo Booth and lots of games throughout the space. There will also be three different areas offering music options starting with radio stations at the main entrance as people come in, a DJ with fun dance music inside the Pier, and live local bands on the main stage.


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?  

CC: San Diego's favorite local artists: Vokab Kompany & The Verigolds will be performing on the main stage. The host of San Diego's premier late night talk show, Jesse Egan (voted San Diego's #1 comedian) as well as their house band, The Mondaze will also be on site. In between sets, guests can dance along to DJ Teelynn, one of San Diego's most talented female DJ.


RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?

CC: The SD Festival of Beer features food trucks galore to appeal to every taste bud. We have everything from gourmet hot dogs, to pretzels, to pizza, steakhouse, and even seafood!


RAL: Tell us about the overall atmosphere?

CC: Best way to describe the evening is FUN/High energy. You’ll find lots to do/see and of course music all night long. The sunset over the pier is one of the best parts of the event, and most guests arrive in time to check it out. The night ends early enough (10:00 pm) so those who need to get home can go home, but those who want to keep the party going still have a full night ahead of them.


RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?

CC: We have partnered with Residence Inn Marriott/Springhill Suites Marriott for a group rate for our guests. Make sure to mention San Diego Professionals Against Cancer for the special rate.


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

CC: This event has donated upwards of $700,000 to local cancer-fighting charities and families affected by cancer. Supporting more than 20 organizations in town, The Festival of Beer has helped keep cancer patients from homelessness, contributed to the purchase of a van to get kids with cancer to summer camps, assisted Rady Children's Hospital with research funding and so much more. San Diego Professionals Against Cancer, the group that organizes the event, came together 23 years ago with only one goal in mind "Taking our love for craft beer and do something good with it." All members of the organization have full-time careers and families, but volunteer their time to bring this event to fruition every year to give back to the fight against cancer. And they make sure the money stays local to the community.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

CC: San Diego is one of the best cities to be in - and summer nights are some of the best times! Guests can enjoy over 120 of the best craft beers around, dance along to some of San Diego's favorite local acts, play some games, maybe even win some prizes. Most importantly, they'll do it all with one of the best views in the city, while supporting a great cause.

For more information about the San Diego Festival of Beer, please visit the event website.