Winterfest Beer & Wine Social - 2016

Authored by Anna Wick  
Photo by Mark e loper event photography

Photo by Mark e loper event photography

January can be a dreary month for a multitude of reasons -- from the winter weather to the post-holiday blues, however our main goal can simply be to muster through the month as quickly, and sanely, as we can.

But, amidst the hectic jump back into full-time work schedules, and the drudgery of packing up our beloved Christmas decorations, one highly anticipated event in January brightens our spirits every year. The 5th annual Winterfest Beer and Wine Social, took place on Friday, January 15th, 2016 in Sacramento.

Winterfest 2016 was the perfect prescription for January gloominess. With 40 different craft breweries (each offering tastings of 2-4 different beers), 20 restaurants and food trucks, and 15 participating wineries. This annual event always draws a large crowd, and 2016 was no exception, with over 1,100 in attendance. The ballroom at the Red Lion Inn was packed with vendors and participants, and the price of admission, $45, offered unlimited tastings of beer and wine, as well as all the small bites you could eat, from some of the best food trucks and pop up dining around Sacramento. 

The local Sacramento craft beer representation was impressive this year at Winterfest, along with many participating breweries from the Bay Area. Brewery representatives very much enjoyed pouring and talking about their beers with attendees, who conversely were eager to learn and grow in their appreciation for all things craft beer. The Underground Brew Squad in Sacramento was one of the home brew groups in attendance to reach out to people interested in taking the plunge into the world of home brewing. The steps from craft beer connoisseur to home brewer, are not that daunting, and the Underground Brew Squad (and a host of other home brewing groups around Sacramento), were here to make that process easier.

PHOTO BY MARK E LOPER EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTO BY MARK E LOPER EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY

A few of my favorite breweries represented at Winterfest included: Oak Park Brewing, Founder's Brewing, and 2 Towns Cider. It is equally as exciting watching Oak Park Brewing for how far they've come with their brewing process in 1 year of being open, not to mention their delectable restaurant inspired small plates and bites. And of course Founder's Brewing, newly distributed in the Sacramento region, and a nice addition to the budding scene around town. And of course, your evening wouldn’t be complete without 2 Towns Cider for making some of the most natural and crisp cider around. 

The entire evening ran very smoothly, thanks to the Running for Rhett Foundation and its hard working group of 150 volunteers in their can’t miss baby blue R4R volunteer t-shirts.

PHOTO BY MARK E LOPER EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTO BY MARK E LOPER EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY

You can definitely count me in for next year's Winterfest. Between the stellar vendors, and the enormous crowd of well-behaved, passionate attendees, it was a delightful evening. Drinking craft beer, eating delicious small bites, and raising nearly $21,000 for the local non-profit Running for Rhett Foundation made for an incredibly fun time. January wasn't so bad after all! 

Anna Wick is a talented industry blogger, and you can read more at her blog at Graciebird Photography.
Photography by Mark Loper. For more photography, visit him at Mark E Loper Event Photography.