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Photo Gallery | 5 things that stood out from the 18th annual California Brewers Festival

SACRAMENTO – On Saturday, beer lovers headed to Sacramento’s Discovery Park to soak up the sun and suds at the 18th annual California Brewers Festival.

Brewers from El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Lincoln, East Sacramento, Davis and more were joined by craft beer producers from San Francisco, Chico, Fort Bragg and beyond.

The festival featured something to satiate the cravings of casual beer fans and beer snobs alike.  From staples of the local tap scene like Firestone Walker’s Double Barrel Ale, to exquisite rarities like a bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout from Knee Deep Brewing in Lincoln (my personal highlight of the day), the vendors did a great job of bringing offerings that were both accessible and palatable to all attendees.

Following are a 5 things that stood out from 2012 California Brewers Festival:

Imperial Reds are on the rise:

Three Imperial Reds were on tap, with my personal favorite again coming from Knee Deep. I've seen a number of Imperial Reds showing up on lists at beer bars around the area lately, and the festival's numerous selections provide a little more evidence that reds are seeing a resurgence among brewers and beer drinkers.

IPAs are still California’s beer of choice:

While I wasn’t counting, I’d wager a guess that about half the taps had I.P.A. stamped across them.

No sours to be seen:

Sours are a beer genre on the rise, but perhaps the attending brewers felt them a little too niche of a category for this particular event.

Speakeasy could rival Stone with their marketing efforts…and their beer:

Stone Brewing in San Diego has crafted an empire out of a perfect balance of delicious, well-constructed beers, and sharp, edgy marketing. Speakeasy Brewing out of San Francisco appears to be taking a page out of Stone’s book with a focus on outstanding beer and standout marketing. If you haven't tasted their beer yet, I'd do it quickly while you can still have the bragging rights of being the first to recommend it among your friends.

Sacramento is cultivating an emerging craft beer scene

Look out San Diego, Portland, and Boulder! Sacramento is making big strides on the craft beer scene.  In addition to a growing number of artisan brewers rooted in the area  (Track 7, Knee Deep, Lock Down, Placerville Brewing Co., American River Brewing, Hoppy Brewing, Berryessa Brewing, Two Rivers Cider, and Jack Russell to name a few), the area’s beer drinkers are also growing in number and knowledge.  Local tap houses and eateries catering to the emerging palates and demands for better beer from Sacramentans are providing a fertile ground for local brews to establish deep roots and ready the ground for more craft brewers to start budding around the Capitol.

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