A small town a couple hours of San Francisco is more like it, along a two-lane highway. And each spring, this little dot on the Northern California map in Mendocino County comes to life because of the Boonville Beer Festival.
Put on by the fun folks of Anderson Valley Brewing Company, located just around the corner, Boonville Beer Festival’s 2023 date is Saturday, April 29. This is the beer festival’s 25th year.
Some arrive on a party bus from San Francisco – good idea – and others simply roll out of sleeping bags from the adjacent campground. Better idea!
The Boonville Beer Festival is the big event of the year for Anderson Valley Brewing, a craft beer drinkers paradise, whose brewery, tasting room and even full 18-hole frisbee golf course is just a mile away from the Mendocino County Fairgrounds.
At the beer festival, there are 80 micro and craft breweries pouring from kegs and live music in a sunshine-splashed location. Tickets are $65.
Even though it’s in a remote place, 125 miles north of San Francisco, it attracts 7,000 people. The beer begins pouring at 1 and taps out at 5 (the music continues until 6 p.m.). By about 10 in the morning, Boonville resembles a small college football town on a fall Saturday with people walking around the street (there’s only one in Boonville), lines at the couple of breakfast spots and a general feeling that an event is about to happen.
All told, about 7,000 people go to the beer festival and they enter through the main gate. So at about 11:30 they start lining up along the street. By 12:30, the line is the equivalent of several blocks long. While it moves fairly quickly, being at the back of the line cuts into the beer time once the festival begins.
Hey, when there’s good beer being served at a great party scene, it’s worth a road trip. Stay and play or just roll up for the day.
• Boonville Beer Festival Top Tips