We had the opportunity to attend the Matsonian’s West Coast Invitational, a craft beer festival at Miller Park, last Saturday (May 11).

Tickets were $50 at the gate or $40 prepay. VIP tickets were $95 and included one hour early entry, a bigger tasting cup, and a voucher for lunch, plus a commemorative 2019 WCI Tee Shirt. Thanks to the Matsonian’s team and Sacramento Top 10, we received a VIP package for the two of us to attend.

This is our third beer festival in the last year, (we attended the Front Street Brewfest last June and the Elk Grove Brewfest last month) and what we liked about the West Coast Invitational is that it was at a great location, Miller Park, there was plenty of space, lines weren’t long, and the VIP included food vouchers which we thought was a great bonus.

This is definitely a craft beer festival for the West Coast beer enthusiast community. You could tell by the crowd and the focus more on the beer and less on the “event”. It was really laid back, I loved that people brought their lawn chairs to hang out and relax. It was dog & family friendly and I loved that you could purchase a NeckNosh there. I always see them at other beer events but I always forget to make my own.

We also liked that the West Coast Invitational is not just about beer, but about community and benefits the Robla Education Foundation, helping inner city youth and families.

I really liked Common Cider but as a beer fan that’s still trying to figure out what I like, I actually really enjoyed the Hazy Blonde from Big Sexy Brewing Co. and so did Peter. His favorite was the Prohibition Red Ale – “Prohibition pours a deep reddish amber hue, with a fluffy tan head that leaves a beautiful lacing on the glass. A lush, complex aroma teases the senses with juicy grapefruit, citrus, pine, spice and candied caramel malts. Mouth-feel is creamy, with a silky, medium body and modest carbonation.”

There were two food vendors and as true foodies, we tried both. Honestly, the focus wasn’t on the food, they even mention it on the FAQ : “We prefer food vendors who are event/carnival focused, where it only takes 5 – 10 minutes from the moment you get into line to getting your food.” Before we realized we had food vouchers we tried the more budget conscious option, the hot dog vendor. I went with a traditional hot dog and Peter got the bratwurst. It did the job but wasn’t anything special. The second stop, where we put our free VIP vouchers to use, was at Kaliko’s Hawaiian Kitchen (they are based out of Nevada City). I got the Loaded Kalua Fries, which I thought were good but the fries were a littler crispier than I prefer. Pete ordered the coconut shrimp, which was also good but could have been taken out a few mins earlier so it wasn’t so crispy. Despite that, we liked what we ordered.

We’re glad we were able to attend this event. It was a great contrast to the other events we’ve attended and we’d highly recommend it for the real beer enthusiasts who love craft beers. The focus on quality beers shows and really separates them from some of the other beer festivals we’ve attended.

About The Author

INFJ with a passion for helping others. I pay my bills doing marketing communications, but sometimes I'm a blogger, content creator, party planner and maker of things. Food is my love language. Lifetime Learner - obsessed with books and podcasts. My favorite things to do in my free time tend to be exploring and spending time with my family.

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