I’ve been to the House of Blues once, when I first went to Las Vegas, and I can say I have pretty good memories about the place. When I heard that a Craft Beer, Food and Music Festival was going to take place at Orange County’s HOB, so close to my place, I couldn’t wait to check it out. Beer? Good. Food? Good. Music? Great. Combine all of these items and you’ll possibly have an awesome night!
Our nearest House of Blues is located in Downtown Disney, Anaheim. Have you been to Downtown Disney on a Saturday night? I haven’t either, until Local Brews, Local Grooves happened. All I can say is I was psychologically prepared for the crazy traffic. The whole Disney area was just packed; there were people and cars everywhere. I was already kind of late for the event, was hungry, thirsty – well, I was basically almost dying (and getting overdramatic). I think being late just make me anxious and annoyed. Anyway, I wasn’t aware that Downtown Disney gets crazy on the weekends. Now you know it, too.
Speaking of Disney, I have to say they couldn’t have picked a better place to have a House of Blues. I’m not the biggest Disney fan, but I have to admit that I love that area. Is it over the top touristic? Yes. It is noisy and crowded? Yes, it is. But I also can see the beauty of it. People say that there are no worries and/or problems in Disneyland – and it’s kind of true. People from all around the world are there to have a good time, and this time when I was there, I was just observing them and absorbing the good vibes. People are simply happy when they’re in Disneyland (or Downtown Disney). It can be a momentary happiness, but it doesn’t matter – it’s just a nice place to be at (when you’re in the right mood, though). You can also spend your whole day/night just and only people watching – you’ll have tons of fun with some peculiar types out there. Anyway, The House of Blues is located in a place where you’ll never get bored.
Parking was cheap and somewhat close from the bar/restaurant, which was a huge plus. When I finally got there, I could see that the place was – you guessed it – packed. I don’t know if it’s always like that, but HOB was full of young (and a bit drunk) people.
I was so looking forward to taste all the type of beers, but I was also starving, so I first headed out to the restaurant. One of the reasons why I liked Vega’s House of Blues was the great food and service. I can’t even remember the bands that were playing that night, I just remember being very hungry and enjoying all the food. For my surprise, Anaheim HOB didn’t quite have the good food I was expecting. I ordered the club sandwich (and how do I regret my choice), and my husband got the salmon burger. It was just impossible to get all the flavors in one bite of my sandwich – the thing was huge, and although I used a knife and a fork, it was just too difficult to get through all the layers of bread (and the bread being so crusty and dry made the eating part even more tricky). It was kind of funny because 10 minutes before I was annoyed due to the fact I was starving, and now I was ready to slap someone because I was still hungry and wasn’t successful at eating a sandwich.
It was then finally time to go to the fun part of the event – which was the beer drinking and the music area. They had a lot of booths with different kinds of beer, and if you’d bought sampling wristbands – 15 dollars each, included five sampling tickets – you could go around trying a bit of everything. I got one, of course, and had the chance to taste five of some great local beers. They had ales, lagers, stouts, malts, ambers, blondes… so, yes, you could easily get overwhelmed with all the options! I made sure to get different ones and get out of my comfort zone – although I couldn’t resist getting Monk’s Lunch, a Belgian-style beer, twice. I couldn’t drink too much (otherwise my pictures would stink), but I still had all my five beer samples – just the right amount to have a good time, but still being able to pay attention on what was going on.
Just like the booths, the music stages were located in different areas. There was an outdoor and two indoor stages, and a total of 16 bands performed in these three places. Although they had very different styles and were not so far away from each other, it was possible to enjoy the concerts without problems.
I was trying to check out the most bands that I could, and I can tell you that there were a lot of different styles going on – classic rock, reggae, punk, ska, surf music, among others –, so you can imagine the diversity of the crowd, too. There were tourists that were just walking around and happened to be there, some locals, fans supporting the bands that were playing… all kinds of people, which just made the festival even more fun.
The one bands that I liked the most was The Originalites, a band that mix ska, dub, punk and surf tunes in a very interesting and original way. They are from Huntington Beach and the surf influence is very clear in the songs – they just can perfectly translate into music Southern California vibes. I liked their style so much (and the guys are very cool, too) that I got their CD – and now I have the perfect soundtrack for beach days or for when I want to relax and enjoy my day. If you want to hear The Originalites for yourself, watch the video below!
Supporting local artists and business always feel good, and that’s why Local Brews, Local Grooves was a great festival. Although it was located in a corporative type of place, it had that different energy that the bands and beer crafters were able to bring. It felt laid back, relaxed and filled with good energies – just like Orange County.