Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

The Monterey Beer Fest

By Jay Brooks
Monday, June 8th, 2009 at 3:55 pm in On Beer.

My family and I drove down to Monterey for the weekend. We took the kids to the beach and, of course, the Monterey Bay Aquarium. But the real reason we were in town was to attend the Monterey Beer Fest at the fairgrounds.

Monterey Beer Fest

The weather was very cooperative and the June gloom was nowhere in sight, instead the skies filled with a brilliant blue and feathery white fluffy clouds. A warm sun with a cool breeze kept the day at a Goldilocks temperature most of the day.

Monterey Beer Fest

The fest quickly filled the fairgrounds, exceeding the estimated 4,000. Beers from 100 different breweries from around the world were poured and the background was filled with the music of three different cover bands, who channeled the music of Weezer, The Police and Tom Petty.

The Deschutes Trailer

The Deschutes Beer Trailer that’s been visiting locations throughout the Bay Area was on hand to pour beer.

The Brewing Network

The festival was hosted by Chris Nelson and Merideth Canham-Nelson, who write online at Also on hand was Justin Crossley (far right) with his Brewing Network who broadcast live throughout the festival. Here they”re interviewing Chris and Meredith (far left). You can also listen to the broadcast from Saturday as a podcast.

The Johnsons

By far, the best story of the festival was the wedding reception of newlyweds Mitch and Melissa Johnson. They had originally planned on attending the festival but mixed up their dates so both the fest and their wedding fell on the same day. Undaunted, they bought festival tickets for everybody attending the wedding and held their reception right there with 5,000 of their best friends. Now that’s just got to be the beginning of a great life together!

It really was a beautiful day and a great way to spend it there at the fairgrounds. While crowded in the middle where the beer was located, there was plenty of room to spread out around the fringes. The music was never too loud. There was plenty of food available from local food booths. My two kids had a ball with two friends also there with their parents, running around the grass and exploring each others’ toys. Fun for the whole family.

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  • Chris

    Thanks for coming down Jay!

  • Matt Pushinsky

    The fest was a great success. One of the best beer festivals I’ve had the pleasure of working. I was curious about the bride & groom – thanks for filling in the story.

  • jeff moses

    J, can’t thank you enough for making the trip down
    from the Bay Area – & I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed yourself.

  • Amy Gutierrez

    Jay, thanks for posting pictures and writing about the festival. It was a fun time. It was a pleasure seeing you, Sarah and the kids.

  • The Duke Of Dunkel

    Nice article on the Beergeek Nelsons in last Sunday’s Argus. Them’s my kind of people!