Good Beer Hunting

no. 422


When the beer’s cut off at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival, overheated attendees rush across the street from the Paso Robles County Fairgrounds to the nearby Adelaide Inn. They shuffle to their hotel rooms and rifle through their mini fridges, scanning bottle tops and can labels of whales they’ve brought from home in Los Angeles—or Nashville or Seattle or wherever—and they stuff them in a cooler to take to the pool.

“That’s where everyone goes after the festival,” a friend told me of the hotel the day before. “They do a huge bottle share there every year. I can’t handle it.”

Forgetting his heeding, I’ve now found myself here, trying to cool off for a few minutes before I head back out for dinner. Someone cannonballs a second time, and is promptly scolded by another dangling his feet into the water from the ledge.

Just then, the gate swings open and an official-looking man in a polo shirt appears at the head of the pool. He raises his hands to eye level and begins shouting.

“Attention, everyone!”

A shush falls over dozens of perspiring, buzzed, suddenly nervous waders and loungers.

“We want to work with you, and we want you to have fun tonight. I’m just letting you know now that the pool closes at 10pm.”

Cheers erupt. It’s 6pm.

A man we don’t know floats a few feet over to me. I’d just poured him a tasty Almanac tangerine sour, and he’s returning with a Highland Park crowler he’s just popped: “Would you guys like to try this hoppy Lager?”

He’s barely finished the question before we’re reaching for our cups.