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Caesar Cervisia: The Final Props and Hops Craft Beer Fest Was Nice… Apart from the Beer Half

The Props and Hops Craft Beer Pageant has been placed on by the Palm Springs Air Museum for a decade. The thought behind it was easy and fascinating: Organizers invite breweries from throughout Southern California, get meals vans from the realm, line up bands and leisure, and have an awesome occasion—all as classic plane take off and land, with the airport and the mountains because the backdrop.

There has additionally been a particular uncommon beer flight carried out on a classic airplane for every of the festivals. The primary was carried out by the then-owner of the late, lamented Schmidy’s Tavern, Brent Schmidman. Schmidman could be joined by the late Erin Peters (aka The Beer Goddess, a longtime unbiased columnist) and brewer Chris Anderson, amongst others, to arrange the festivals.

The primary few years of the competition had been lots of enjoyable, with many breweries attending, nice meals and music, and, after all, the classic airplanes. It was, as claimed on its web site, “the premier craft beer occasion within the valley.” The native homebrew membership (which I used to be a member of on the time) even obtained a sales space there to coach individuals on homebrewing and serve a few of our creations. The environment, the beers, the planes—every little thing about it was effectively conceived.

If the story ended right here, I might be a cheerful man. Nevertheless, it is a column about beer.

After lacking a few of the intervening years, I attended this 12 months’s Props and Hops in my capability as a licensed cicerone at Babe’s BBQ and Brewhouse.

On the web site for the 2022 occasion, a lot was promised. Some 20 breweries had been listed by title, with the phrases “many, many extra” beneath.

The logistics of the competition had been well-handled. Everybody knew the place to arrange; there was loads of ice; all of the workers members had been useful. Nevertheless, solely about half of the breweries talked about on the webpage had been truly current. Among the many most notable absences had been greater than half of the breweries right here within the Coachella Valley. I do not precisely know the logistics of the competition, and what’s required from every brewery to attend, nevertheless it appeared odd to not have 4 of the seven native breweries there. My greatest private disappointment was seeing neither Firestone Walker nor their Barrelworks offshoot (which makes wonderful bitter ales) there as promised.

When the doorways opened for the VIP hour from midday to 1 pm, there have been simply 11 breweries in attendance, together with the sales space for the Inland Empire Brewers (a homebrew membership simply exterior the desert). It is truthful to say that if I might paid for a ticket—by no means thoughts a VIP ticket—I might have been a tragic panda.

As soon as the VIP hour had handed, and the general-admission ticket holders began pouring in, just a few further canopies and tables popped up—every of which was ultimately occupied by one half-barrel keg. One was Blue Moon (which already had a desk); one other was a Pizza Port Brewing keg of Persistent Ale (a high quality beer); and the third was a keg of a Stone Brewing beer I did not trouble checking. They appeared like considerably random kegs positioned there as a sort-of apology for the dearth of breweries in attendance.

Am I being a beer snob? Actually. I perceive that the competition’s beers will not be the one attraction right here. Additionally, let me be clear that I’ve nothing destructive to say concerning the Palm Springs Air Museum itself. It is an awesome place, and I really like seeing the outdated planes flying above me after I’m mountain climbing across the valley. That is my evaluation of the beer facet of the beer competition—and on that facet, the fest overpromised and underdelivered.

When the doorways opened for the VIP hour from midday to 1 pm, there have been simply 11 breweries in attendance, together with the sales space for the Inland Empire Brewers.

There have been some good issues concerning the beer facet. For starters, 8 Bit Brewing out of Murietta introduced 4 nice beers; I favored the German-style pilsner greatest. Coronado Brewing introduced just one keg, nevertheless it was a stable IPA. I attempted a pleasant, dry Irish crimson ale on the IE Brewers’ sales space. The most recent Double Down DIPA from Babe’s debuted on the competition and was wonderful (yeah, I’m biased, as I helped plan it, nevertheless it encompasses a hop with out an official title that I like, HBC 586). The brand new child on the native block, Luchador Brewing, introduced a brown ale with coconut and macadamia nuts that I loved.

Once more, none of those critics have any bearing on the Air Museum—and I might love nothing greater than for Props and Hops to succeed. My buddy and former co-worker Justin Moeller returned to conduct the uncommon beer flights on the classic planes; the music was nice; the meals I had from my pals at Massive Simple Sandwich was nice. Most significantly, the individuals who confirmed up appeared to have a very good time.

However Props and Hops is a craft beer competition the place beer just isn’t focus—and you will not see me spending cash to attend till that adjustments.

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