Fun in the sun is back with Surf ’n’ Suds at San Buenaventura Beach on Oct. 9. Photos courtesy Surf ’n’ Suds Beer Festival.

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

Surf ’n’ Suds Beer Festival
Saturday, Oct. 9, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
San Buenaventura State Beach
901 San Pedro St., Ventura
$20-$70 (plus service fees)
surfbeerfest.com

Craft brews, good tunes and a ocean breezes — yes, it’s the annual Surf ’n’ Suds Beer Festival, back in Ventura (at San Buenaventura State Beach) and in person once again. While die-hard fans were able to get their craft beer fix with the all-virtual Surf ’n’ Suds (+Buds) back in May, enjoying the merriment, camaraderie, music and more physically and in real time will be a welcome relief for many.

“Because our events are not considered mega events and we host Surf ’n’ Suds on a large field, we are able to host a safe event that allows guests to socially distance and still enjoy all that Surf ’n’ Suds has to offer,” says event manager Andres Nuño of En Fuego Events. “We just ask that people be respectful of other guests’ space. We also have a larger amount of hand washing stations throughout the event.”

In other respects, the festival will be much like those of years past. More than 65 craft brewers from across California will be serving up samples of beer, seltzers, ciders and even kombucha. Food trucks will offer solid refreshment, while lawn games (and an extra-large beer pong!) and surfboard shapers will keep guests entertained between pours and vendors will allow them to do a little shopping. 

As always, live music will be a highlight. Beloved Ventura-based reggae band Jacob Marquez and the Good Vibes will be headlining, along with Mestizo LA, playing a blend of Latin jazz, salsa, rock and R&B. DJ Hecktik will perform as well.

“Our music lineup is great this year!” exclaims Nuño. 

The beverages, of course, are the real reason attendees flock to this event just steps from the beach, and Nuño boasts that there will be plenty of newcomers for 2021.

“Surf ’n’ Suds Beer Festivals strive on being the largest craft beer festival on the Central Coast,” he explains. “We are constantly looking for new breweries, or breweries that have never joined us, to make an appearance! We are excited to have over 20 fresh faces joining us this year.”

Among those making their debut at Surf ’n’ Suds will be San Diego-based Ashland Hard Seltzer, Fresno’s Full Circle Brewing Co. and Strainge Beast out of Chico. Locals new to the festival include Pedals and Pints Brewing Company (Thousand Oaks), Anna’s Cider (Upper Ojai) and Balcom Canyon Hard Cider (Ventura).

One Surf ’n’ Suds tradition is a special collaboration beer brewed through the combined forces of three local breweries. Casa Agria Specialty Ales (Oxnard), Seaward Brewing (Ventura) and Tarantula Hill Brewing Co. (Thousand Oaks) took up the baton this year to formulate Tres Cervecerias, a Double Dry Hopped Hazy Pale Ale with notes of tropical fruit and herbs.

“Including local Ventura County breweries to come up with a collaboration beer for Surf ’n’ Suds is super important to us,” Nuño says. “We pride ourselves in including the local community and having craft beer that is unique to the Central Coast. Casa Agria, Seaward and Tarantula Hill each brew their own styles, and for them to come together to make this is pretty exciting. We hope everyone gets to try it at least once at the festival.”

Festivities officially kick off at 12:30 p.m., but early entry at 11:30 a.m. is available to VIP ticket holders. During the VIP session, guests will get to sample libations made just for the occasion . . . and not available during the general admission session. 

And, as always, Surf ’n’ Suds will feature a charitable component. Nonprofits such as Surfrider Ventura Chapter, Ventura Surf Club, Mission FISH and others will be in attendance. In addition, a portion of the proceeds will support the Young and Brave Foundation, established to create a community of support for the families of children and young adults with cancer. 

Nuño promises guests a beautiful day near the beach, sharing good drink and good music with good company. What is he looking forward to most on Oct. 9?

“Finally being able to have our event in Ventura since 2019!”