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Rhythm and Brews rocks Vista

Scenes from the Rhythm and Brews festival in Vista.
Scenes from the Rhythm and Brews festival in Vista.
Don Ayres

One of the benefits of having a large craft beer industry in San Diego is an active brewer’s guild that hosts plenty of events to spotlight San Diego craft beer. While the highlight of the San Diego Brewer’s Guild’s year is November’s San Diego Beer Week, the guild was missing a large spring festival on its calendar. The brewer’s guild added that event on Saturday with the Rhythm and Brews festival in Vista Village.

Previously, the Vista Village Business Association put on the Rhythm and Brews festival in October, which crowded an already-busy fall craft beer season in San Diego. When the San Diego Brewer’s Guild took over the festival for 2014, they moved the festival to May, balancing out the San Diego beer festival calendar. “We at the San Diego Brewers Guild are honored to host such an amazing event along ‘The Hop Highway’ in the heart of Vista Village,” said Brian Scott, president of the San Diego Brewer’s Guild. “Over 120 craft beers, live music and thousands of craft beer lovers make for an unforgettable day."

Rhythm and Brews 2014 featured more than 120 different beers from 53 different breweries. The mostly San Diego lineup included beers from all over the county. Notable non-San Diego breweries included Firestone Walker, Drake's and Great Divide. While most breweries brought their traditional core beers to the festival, some breweries used the festival to promote some of their newer brews like Stone’s Go-To IPA and Firestone Walker’s Easy Jack session IPA.

Three stages of live music provided the rhythm to accompany the brews. James Harman’s Bamboo Porch Revue featuring Nathan James and the Rhythm Scratchers and Bonedaddy Tempo headlined the festival from the center stage. Opening acts included local favorites like the Bill Magee Blues Band, Jimmy and Enrique, and the Mystic Roots.

It’s not a good idea to get a bunch of people to stand out in the sun without food, so there were offerings from several different restaurants. Presenting sponsor Harrah’s handed out pulled pork sandwiches and cupcakes, Sweiners food truck sold their sausages, and restaurants like Brothers Provisions and Urge Gastropub brought selections from their menus. One of the more interesting food items available was a sample of peanut butter butter cream chocolate with ghost chili from So Rich Chocolates.

Along with the beer and music, Rhythm and Brews also features a homebrew competition sponsored by Mother Earth Brew Company. Patrick Shulz from Long Beach won the competition with his Contemplation Porter, and will have the opportunity to brew his beer at Mother Earth and have it featured at next year’s Rhythm and Brews festival. Beyond the homebrew competition, Rhythm and Brews also raised money for charity, as the brewer’s guild donated proceeds from the event to Relay for Life and Fight ALD.