John Lee Hooker Jr onstage
Mammoth Lakes, Beer and blues festival
AUGUST – The Bluesapalooza Beer and Blues Festival is a welcome getaway for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, beer, live blues music, or any combination of the three. Even though we’re located a good 6 hour drive away in San Diego, we decided it would be a good weekend trip to head up to Mammoth for a great weekend of relaxation. In case you’re not familiar with this event, it happens once a year at Mammoth Lakes, usually around the beginning of August, and takes place outdoors at Sam’s Wood Site.
The setting is actually quite spectacular. Somehow a stage is set up in a small clearing, and then the beer tents and spectators take their places in and around the trees. So you need to make sure to get there early and set your chairs up so your view is not obstructed. All those technicalities aside, it makes for a very nice and relaxing weekend, getting to enjoy beer and good music while in a nice, tranquil, outdoor environment. And being that it’s in August, the weather is perfect, even up at close to 8000′ elevation. Bright sunny skys, daytime temps in the 70s, and then cooling down to sweatshirt weather in the evening make it a nice escape from the heat of summer back home.
As far as the beer goes, there is a great variety, and more than you can drink. From what I could tell, quite a few of the breweries were semi-local (California), and there was good representation of the breweries I was familiar with, with San Diego being well represented, as well as a few breweries from Orange County, Santa Barbara, the Bay Area and Northern California, not to mention all the other great craft breweries that were there. As with any beer festival, there were lines at the good tents, but nothing too terrible. At least you’re outside in the shade of the pines, so it’s definitely manageable. And it seemed like most vendors had their beer last until the end or close to the end of the day.
The festival is billed as a three day event, but we opted to only puchase tickets and attend the main day, which was Saturday. Friday and Sunday they have things going on, with music and food and beverages for purchase, but Saturday is the main day for the festival and music. Doing this freed up time to do some other things while we were in Mammoth that we wouldn’t be able to do if we attended all three days. There are so many things to do around the Mammoth area with all the outdoor activity options and the Inyo and Sierra National Parks around, but during our limited down time we decided to enjoy a relaxing bike ride around town on the nicely paved trail which does a complete circuit around the town. But next year we plan to do a bit more, likely heading into one of the parks or over to the Devils Postpile National Monument.
For lodging, there is plenty of it around, so the issue isn’t finding a place, rather it will likely be finding a reasonably priced place. A lot of the hotels and inns are pricier, but I know there is a Motel 6 and I believe a few other chain hotels outside of town. Another option is to rent a condo, which will give you nicer amenities, and actually is probably comparable to the hotel prices. The last option is camping, as there are a few campgrounds walking distance from town, and then another bunch of them a few miles away.
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Originally posted on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 at 6:51 AM .