Thursday, April 25, 2024

Horror meets hops: Nearly 30 breweries invade Long Beach in honor of ‘halfway to Halloween’

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The crew that brought Long Beach its first major beer festival during the pandemic, Halloween Hootenanny—Festival Obscura founders Martin and Ryan Hughes-Svab along with Craft Beer LB founder Dennis Trilles—found it appropriate to bring for the second year in a row this once wildly popular celebration to once again connect Long Beach with the beauty that is beer and horror on April 29 at Rancho Los Cerritos.

So this is a Halfway to Halloween Hootenanny—but is it celebrated elsewhere, this halfway-to-Halloween thing? Yes.

In Gaelic terms, it is called Beltane, the spring equinox that marks the halfway point toward Samhain, or what Americans commonly call Halloween—and in Long Beach, at least for myself, it represents part of my favorite beer festival, the annual Halloween Hootenanny and Halfway to Halloween Hootenanny celebrations.

“For some cultures, Beltane is actually more important and more celebrated than Halloween itself, or what they call Samhain,” Ryan said when the first festival launched last year. “And compared to the last Halloween Hootenanny, this one is a bit more focused on the horror part: We have more horror vendors, we’re encouraging people to bring on the costumes… It’s going to be just a great reason to escape.”

It’s a damn good reason to escape: This is the halfway point to Halloween, Long Beach—and Halloween Hootenanny is here to celebrate that.

The peeps behind Halloween Hootenanny are Long Beach beer veterans

Not only are the Hughes-Svab duo an essential part of the craft beer community—Martin opened Phantom Carriage in its wee days—but with Trilles, they’ve been serving the craft beer community for well over a decade.

And if the brews for some reason don’t attract you, just check out the food: Barbecue masters (and now full-time brick-and-mortar) Shady Grove Foods will be at the pit. Mexican cuisine masters Chefs Manuel and Fernanda Bañuelos of Fonda Tobalá—sadly closing permanently the day of the event—will be serving up some of the city’s best Mexican grub. One of the most underrated cottage kitchen joints, Fatty Mo’s Ice Cream & Cookies, will be on hand to kill your inner sweet tooth. And joining them will be vegan joint Leaf Over Beef, Death by Chocolate Confectioners, and Whale Face Musubi (some of the best musubi in Long Beach).

The list of breweries, cideries, wineries, and kombucha makers—but especially the breweries—is a beautiful spotlight on Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, and every other part of California’s grasp on independent beer.

What should we expect from this version of Halloween Hootenanny?

Just look at this list of libation producers:

  • Altar Society
  • Ambitious Ales
  • Beachwood Brewing Co.
  • Beachwood Blendery
  • Brouwerij West
  • Burnin Daylight
  • Cellador Ales
  • Delirium
  • Dutch’s Brewhouse
  • Eagle Rock Brewery
  • Eureka!
  • Everywhere Beer
  • Ficklewood Cider
  • Kyla Kombucha
  • Long Beach Beer Lab
  • Paperback
  • Radiant Brewing
  • Smog City Brewing Co.
  • Ten Mile Brewing Co.
  • Three Weavers Brewing Co.
  • Topa Topa
  • Tortugo Brewing Co.
  • Hofbrau
  • Trademark Brewing
  • Unity Vibrations
  • Vampire Family Wines
  • Project Barley
  • Sangre de Tigre
  • Sofee Coffee

Vendors include:

  • Craft Beer LB
  • Local Beer Brand
  • Memento Mori
  • Mood Poison
  • Error ’84
  • Dark Parks Books & Collectibles
  • Brian Asman
  • Memento Mori Goods,
  • Brian McAuley
  • Bat in Your Belfy
  • Monster Tease
  • Twigz Morgue

Go get yer hootenanny’n’hops on, Long Beach.

Tickets are available here.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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