1. The weather. Boonville is a hot, sunny, dry part of the state, but less than an hour from the Mendocino coast, so there’s still that cooling breeze. Each time I’ve been to this festival, the weather’s been 80 degrees and perfect out. I’ve heard stories of rain in the past – but there are still 9 other great reasons to go. Please continue.
2. The host brewery. It’s hard not to root for ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING, makers of BOONT AMBER and some of the US’s finest beers for nearly two decades now. Once the fest is over, you can stumble over to the brewery itself or into the tiny town’s few bars, where of course almost all of the AVB products are fresh and on draft.
3. The array of brewers. It’s pretty much a who’s-who of heavyweights from Washington to Southern California, including superheroes like MOONLIGHT, RUSSIAN RIVER and STONE. Every year there are a few debuts that catch the crowd a-buzzing, like last year’s debut of HOPSICKLE by MOYLAN’S - only the single best new beer of the last couple years, right?
4. The setting. Boonville is a strange, remote hippie town, with that distinctly west coast mix of lumberjack types jumbled in with the chakras crowd. The vibes of both are ever-present.
5. All you can drink. You’re provided with a small glass and are then invited to go wild for four hours.
6. Free bottles of water. Much needed every hour or so, in light of #4.
7. You get to laugh at the lame bands. Though I understand that this year that in addition to the beer-themed acts like the “ROLLING BOIL BLUES BAND” , there’s gonna be a mariachi group and a surf band. I’m down with that.
8. A roaring round of applause every time someone drops their 4-oz. glass. Because once it drops, your festival is over! Unless you want to drink some free bottles of water the rest of the afternoon. Hold on tight!
9. Cheap camping. On a football field next to the fairgrounds, no less. Last year there were a number of bands playing the campsites into the wee hours, and much inebriated mirth and merrymaking.
10. Everyone in attendance is your brother, sister or best friend by 5pm. Which is when the taps are turned off. I’ve seen burly beer doggie types arm-in-arm with hacky sackers, hot drunk girls hitting on dorky guys, and lots of general good will and peace among men. Such is the joy de vivre that four hours of unbridled drinking will engender. See you there this Saturday!