It was a magical night of great craft brews, luscious wines, delicious and diverse food, rocking music, and wonderful camaraderie on Long Beach’s Promenade for the first ever Promenade Wine and Beer Festival held last Saturday night. The newly completed Promenade is also home to Michael’s Pizzeria, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Harvelle’s, Congregation Ale House, The Stave and Wokcano. It was the perfect venue for the cheerful crowd of about 2500 that meandered from food stop to beer stop to wine stop, glasses in hand, savoring samples of the best Long Beach has to offer.
The weather was heavenly, not hot, not cold, just perfect with ocean breezes gently wafting through the happy crowd. Also wafting through the crowd was great music, which rocked the Promenade throughout the evening. Some outstanding bands enhanced the event’s partying atmosphere with their pop, rock, blues and folk beats, including Fathers & Suns, Paperplanes, Moonsville Collective and California Lions.
The abundance of savory treats served is too long to list, but some stand out, including the spicy paella; pulled pork sliders; California rolls and crab rolls; chocolate torte with raspberry jalapeno sauce; meatball sub sandwiches; cherry tomato, cantaloupe and basil salad; melt-in-your mouth lobster rolls with candied bacon and broccoli salad; tasty salmon sliders; rib sliders; and gorgonzola stuffed figs. And these are just a few of the innovative, delicious and beautifully presented dishes we sampled.
The sponsor of the event, Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) had a goal of celebrating the amazing growth of wine bars and craft beers in the Long Beach area while also featuring the varied cuisines offered throughout the community. Food and drink vendors were placed strategically next to each other to encourage creative food and beverage pairings. There were even painting lessons available from Brushstrokes and Beverages and I saw some fledging but talented artists applying the paint, wineglasses in hand.
Julie Korinke, DLBA Communications Manager, says of the festival, “We received very positive feedback from guests and vendor participants. By bringing together downtown restaurants, Southern California breweries, and California wineries, we offered a unique festival that appealed to a wide range of guests. This was a great first event and we can’t wait to expand and improve it for next year.”
Yes, the Promenade Beer and Wine Festival was so successful it will be held again next year. But there are also other DLBA events coming up even sooner, such as New Year’s Eve, which is the biggest event of the year and features family-friendly activities at the waterfront and a more adult-oriented event in the heart of downtown Long Beach on Pine Avenue. Pine Avenue will be shut down for an outdoor festival of music, food, and drinks that includes a countdown to midnight with fireworks.
The message is clear: Downtown Long Beach is the place to be for good food, good brews, good wine, and good times when festivals are going on and even when they’re not.