Last week San Francisco’s scenic Golden Gate Park played host to the 5th annual Outside Lands Music Festival
. In addition to being one of the ultimate gatherings for all things rock n’ roll, OSL also prides itself on being the preeminent food and drink event on the West Coast.
In years past they have fully delivered on this claim with access to many of the world-renowned wines and spirits that define the neighboring regions of Napa
. Not looking to rest on their laurels, Outside Lands stepped up their game yet again in 2012 with the introduction of Beer Lands
, an event exclusively dedicated to some of the best microbrews that Northern California has to offer–which also happen to be some of the premiere producers in the world. Dave McLean
, brewmaster and owner of SF’s very own Magnolia Pub and Brewery
was in charge of this exciting collaborative effort. Here’s what he had to say about the experience…
How did you get involved with Beer Lands?
We had been talking for a couple of years about how they wanted to bring some great craft beer into the mix alongside the amazing line up they put together of local food and wine. The opportunity to finally do it came up this year and they invited me to be a part of it.
Are you brewing any beers specifically for the event?
We’re constantly chasing our tails these days trying to keep up with demand until our new brewery comes online. Outside Lands will go through a ton of beer so we have to work with what we have available. Fortunately, we can send two of our flagships that people really seem to like – Proving Ground IPA and Kalifornia Kölsch.
What were some of the greatest challenges in preparing for OSL?
The mission was to try to feature a wide range of California craft breweries, large and small, new and old. Some of the smallest, like Magnolia, can have a hard time supplying the amount of beer needed for an event like this. Everything came together really well, though, and I think we have a very nice cross section representing craft beer in California in 2012.
Have you ever worked on a project of this scope/magnitude before?
I’ve worked on a few other large events such as Slow Food Nation in 2008 and the Eat Real Festival every year in Oakland. There are some elements here that working on those other events helped me prepare for this one. The Beer Lands portion of Outside Lands, big as it is, though, is just one small part of the festival. I’m constantly impressed by the folks who make this festival happen. It’s a massive undertaking and they do an amazing job.
What goes into bringing these various breweries of all different shapes and sizes all together under one roof?
Craft beer has such a strong community surrounding it. While there were a lot of variables to manage, it really wasn’t that hard to reach out to my peers, colleagues, and friends and pull together a group like this. The only real downside is how many amazing California craft breweries couldn’t be included due to the limited space we’re working with.
Did you cater more toward hard-core beer aficionados, or the more casual drinker? How does the approach vary when considering each?
I tried to keep both in mind when working on this. With so many of the breweries there to talk about their products and their breweries, I think there is an opportunity, too, to maybe turn on some casual drinkers to some of the great stuff happening in the local beer world right now. I think we have a nice mix of beers out there with a little something for everyone.
Are there any beers that you are anxious to try that you haven’t had yet?
I haven’t had The Bruery’s Humulus APA and I am looking forward to trying that one. And, Sierra Nevada is bringing a special Outside Lands Saison for the occasion that I can’t wait to try.
Although many of the beers at OSL are potential competitors they all seem to work together so well, how would you describe the camaraderie that permeates brewers culture, and how does it sustain itself?
I know it can get a little competitive out there in the marketplace, especially with so many new breweries opening these days. It’s crowded, but I think most people in this industry are just so genuinely passionate about brewing and beer that it keeps the interactions pretty positive and we do have a really great sense of community. We know we are all in this together, trying to turn people on to a world of interesting, flavorful beers made with love.
Will there be any one-offs featured from the other breweries?
The only one off just for the festival is Sierra Nevada’s Outside Lands Saison.
Most of the breweries featured are local favorites–like your own Magnolia, Pac Brewing Labs, Linden Street, Anchor, etc. yet you have some–like Firestone and the Bruery–coming in from down south, how did they get involved in this event?
This festival really tries to celebrate its sense of place here in SF and the Bay Area. So, I tried to focus more on the breweries of this area. But, our fellow CA brewers from all over the state are making great beer and we wanted the Beer Lands selection to reflect that, too.
What are you drinking right now?