The city closed a one block stretch of a street downtown. A stage was set up at one end of the block with portable toilets at another. There is a great pub with a great assortment of brew on tap on that street that has a small parking lot. In that lot, several large tents were set up where the beers were poured. Lining the street on either side were food vendors.
We arrived at about 2:00 pm when the festival was in full swing. There was music over the PA system while the next band was setting up. We bought our beer tickets and proceeded to wade through the throng to get a beer. The crowd was fantastic, composed of all kinds of folk: families with baby strollers, seniors with their dogs, young and old lesbian couples, hipsters, Raider fans who had just saw their team at the Coliseum nearby and lots of San Leandrans that I recognized from trips to the library or the grocery store. It was a real sense of community, something the missus and I were looking for when house hunting.
I started with a pint of Deschutes Green Lakes Organic Ale. It was mellow amber ale that was tasty, highly drinkable and cloudy copper in color. I would have been content with a few more but there was a large variety of beers and I had to spread out the love. Next up was a the Longboard Lager from Kona Brewing. It had the characteristics of a friendly lager: light body, crisp and refreshing. Then there was New Belgium's Hoptober. Pure, crystalline hoppy goodness. It smelled and tasted great. New Belgium seemed to have the longest lines and deservedly so. Though I did not have them, they also had the classic Fat Tire and the Ranger IPA. Their were at least 20-30 beers available but I was unable to very what they were due to the large crowds. I was hoping to have something by Drake's Brewing but could not see where they were set up.
After three pints, I had to have some food. The problem was all the choices. There was a huge line for the southern BBQ, which smelled delicious. Then there was the chorizo sandwiches from D. Gonzales Carniceria. These chorizos were lurid in their length. I mean, they were close to two feet long. That's insane, no? Tacos and pupusas were also available from a local taqueira. Theire offerings looked delicious. There was also the Saag's / Aidell's sausage tent. They are based here in San Leandro and are part of the local constellation of sausage makers making up the formation known as the Sausage Capital of California. We decided on the sandwiches from the Buon Tempo club. These sandwiches were awesome. They were mild Italian sausages with grilled onions and pepers on a soft roll. They went really well with the beer.
As we were enjoying the sausages, the next musical act came on, the Spazmatics. They started off with Gary Numan's “Cars”. Pretty good intro, if I do say so myself. They proceeded to play all kinds of 80's hits. The band was very animated and had great nerdy costumes since their mantra is “nerds that rock.” While I enjoyed the music, it also made me feel a bit old. The last time I went to Tahoe and Vegas, the casinos were playing 80's music and not just the top hits but some tunes that were on some of my favorite albums that I never heard on the radio. My local chain grocery store plays 80's tunes as well. Suddenly, I am a demographic. But I digress. The Spazmatics were good and I wish their set was a few songs longer.
All in all, it was a fun afternoon with my sweetie enjoying good brews and eats. I hope I can get some friends and family to come next year. I will look forward to many Sausage n Suds Festivals in the coming years.