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Apr 17th
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Hopping Happy

dining beerfestLast weekend we were in San Francisco and stumbled across one of the five locations of Pizza Orgasmica. Besides wolfing down a pretty tasty salami, sausage and mushroom pizza, we really enjoyed sampling their craft beers.

The refreshing Peach Pale Ale was the fruitiest beer I've tasted in some time, and the hoppy IPA won a 2011 Gold Medal at the Fairfax Beer Festival.

This Saturday, we'll have the opportunity to taste 100 beers at Scotts Valley's Hop N' Barley Beer Festival." Organized by a non-profit who bills the event as "Santa Cruz County's Original Beer Festival, the proceeds benefit Community Housing Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.

Parking is free, there is no admission fee for nontasters, and there will be food for sale, unlimited tasting, bocce ball, live music, and a kids' area in the dog-friendly park. There is also a barbecue ( $8).

Of the approximately 40 breweries participating, local favorites include Santa Cruz Aleworks, Seabright Brewery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery, Uncommon, Corralitos, Boulder Creek, North Coast, and Bruvado (formerly Blanco Basura). Representing the Bay Area will be San Francisco's Speakeasy, and Mountain View's Tied House, which is the Fourth oldest microbrewery in California.

Some brews are well distributed, such as Sierra Nevada, Redhook, Guinness and Newcastle. Other tasty beers will make the trip from Oregon, such as Deschutes, and Rogue, who hopefully will be bringing along some bacon-maple ale. Bard's gluten-free beer is made with sorghum malt.

It's easy to use Santa Cruz Metro as your designated driver. Skypark is just a five minute walk from the Scotts Valley Transit Center. Walk past the new library to the dead end and continue left on King's Village Road. | KP


Hop N' Barley Beer Festival at Skypark, 361 King's Village Road, Scotts Valley, Saturday, June 30, noon to 4:30 p.m. (Beer tasting begins at 12:30 p.m. Beer & BBQ ($38), Beer ($30), BBQ only ($8). Visit hopnbarley.org. Additional donations are welcome.

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