Follow the tie-dye

illustration By mark Stivers

The tasting area for the California State Fair’s craft-brewing competition winners was not very well-marked, so I had to follow the stream of guys with beer guts and tie-dye to find it. Although underpublicized, this beerfest is the one of the best beer events in Sacramento, and for only 10 bucks. Standouts included the Collaborative Evil, from Sacramento Brewing Company. This brew exhibited a perfect balance between American- and Belgian-style pale ales, and finished perfectly: The Belgian yeast was the star. The Sudwerk Pilsner won best pilsner, and tasted clean and crisp, as always. Two Rivers Cider ran out of their huckleberry cider quickly, and when I walked around with my mini-stein of blood-orange cider, a beer dude mocked with a cry of “Is that a Cosmopolitan?” My favorite was a secret keg called “It’s Fity” from Drake’s Brewing Company: It’s a sour, meaning it’s made with wild Brettanomyces yeast, and the tart flavor kept my palate refreshed as I went back for taste after taste. Then I petted some goats.