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Celebrating San Diego brews, music and lifestyle at BeerX

For San Diegans of a certain age, 91X radio has supplied the soundtrack of our lives. Many of those same San Diegans also came to age with the burgeoning craft beer scene around our county. As a result, when 91X hosts a beer and music festival —BeerX — it just seems right.

Add an incredible venue, Waterfront Park on the Pacific Highway with views of the bay, and a 75-degree sunny day with cool breezes, and you have something extraordinary.

Last Saturday, BeerX Craft Beer and Music festival returned to the Waterfront park and featured 40+ breweries and five great musical acts. The annual concert and beer festival is sponsored by 91X radio.

Garett Michaels, program director and host of Resurrection Sunday at 91X radio, shared his perspective on the event with me.

A glass of Karl Strauss’ Beer X West Coast IPA at BeerX, hosted by 91X radio station. Photo by Jeff Spanier
A glass of Karl Strauss’ Beer X West Coast IPA at BeerX, hosted by 91X radio station. Photo by Jeff Spanier

“The pairing of the 91X radio brand with craft beer is perfect because it’s all part of the San Diego lifestyle,” Michaels said. “And we’ve returned to Waterfront Park Park, so the venue matches the event.”

In regards to the breweries and beers being served, Michaels added: “Foundational breweries like Karl Strauss, AleSmith and Ballast Point had to be a part of Beer X.”

The rest of the old the guard was there, too, with Stone, Coronado and Mission Brewing rounding out the founding fathers of San Diego craft beer.

“But we also wanted some recent additions to the founding breweries with newer kids with incredible beer,” said Michaels.

One of those newcomers was Seek Beer Company, one of San Diego’s newest breweries in North Park. They were serving their Helles Lager, Lead By Example.

It’s a beer that can be tricky to get right, but it’s clear that the Seek Beer team knows what it is doing. The collab beer made with KBC Lagerhaus was refreshing and crisp with a malt sweetness appropriate for the style.

Team Rouleur at BeerX Craft Beer and Music Festival on Aug. 20 at Waterfront Park in San Diego. Photo by Jeff Spanier
Team Rouleur at BeerX Craft Beer and Music Festival on Aug. 20 at Waterfront Park in San Diego. Photo by Jeff Spanier

In celebration of Beer X and all things San Diego, the radio station created a collaboration beer with Karl Strauss Brewing: Beer X. Staying close to the San Diego lifestyle, Beer X is a traditional West Coast IPA that drank clean and with less hoppy bitterness than the style offered a few years back. I found it to be refreshing in the warm afternoon and perfect for after sunset.

North County breweries were well represented, which is always exciting to see. Rouleur Brewing Company from Carlsbad was serving RAIDA, its delicious Japanese Rice Lager, now an expected staple at Beer Festivals for me.

Brewed with white rice, Japanese Sorachi Ace hops and pilsner malt, this refreshingly light and crisp beer was a perfect pairing for the sunny day and throwback tunes early in the day.

Also representing the North County: Bear Roots, Belching Beaver, Eppig, Booze Brothers, Burgeon, Pure Project, Stone and Wild Barrel. Eppig was sharing its newly released seasonal favorite, Festbier; Burgeon had their Hand Selected Pale Ale made with Citra and Amarillo hops.

Garett Michaels, DJ and radio program director at 91X, spinning tunes at BeerX Craft Beer and Music Festival on Aug. 20 at Waterfront Park. Photo by Jeff Spanier
Garett Michaels, DJ and radio program director at 91X, spinning tunes at BeerX Craft Beer and Music Festival on Aug. 20 at Waterfront Park. Photo by Jeff Spanier

Michaels was clearly excited about the music as he was the beer. And for good reason–it is an impressive lineup.

\Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats headlined the show with Chicano Batman, Los Tortugas, Smoke and Mirrors Sound System, and Pachyman playing throughout the afternoon.

“We wanted to create a musical vibe for BeerX San Diego lifestyle music. Good beer drinking music,” said Michaels

To pull it all together, the afternoon’s party was kicked off by Los Tortugas, a surf-ska band featuring Paul Segura, Brewmaster at Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

Segura is also the co-host of 91X’s Beer for Breakfast show and helped create the Beer X IPA. And if that wasn’t enough, Michaels hopped on stage to join for a set with the band.

Maybe that’s keeping it a bit all in the family, but it is a family! The closing act, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats was well worth the wait and up to the billing.

The event was a success in bringing the best of San Diego all together to celebrate the uniquely San Diegan lifestyle.

Jeff Spanier is the host of I Like Beer the Podcast, available wherever you get podcasts. You can also follow the ILB team’s adventures on Instagram @ilikebeerthepodcast and the website: ilikebeerthepodcast.com.