Photos: A Toast To The Sights And Sips Of OC Coastkeeper's CleanWaterFest

Southern California craft beer enthusiasts rallied for clean water on Saturday, October 19, for the second annual CleanWaterFest. Hosted by OC Coastkeeper, the fundraiser charged guests $30 to $40 to sample local brews and bites at Whitter Law School's sun-drenched quad in Costa Mesa. As admitted brewhounds, we happily donned our blue wristbands, grabbed our complimentary festival pint glasses, handed them to brewery reps 10 times and sipped with some 200 other attendees in honor of our beloved Pacific Ocean.

OC Coastkeeper strives to protect and promote sustainable water resources that are swimmable, drinkable and fishable by spearheading numerous programs, like monthly beach cleanups and environmental law and policy clinics. Proceeds from CleanWaterFest, which reached a whopping $20,000, will help fund these efforts. Speaking of clean beaches, the next beach cleanup in Huntington Beach takes place on Saturday, November 9, and volunteers are always needed.

Director of Communications & Marketing Pamela Crouch says of Saturday's event: "I am very thankful for all the breweries, food vendors, our friends and supporters for coming out to make this event a success. Whittier Law School and our sponsors really helped make this event possible and go smoothly. I look forward to being able to continue this as an annual event in the future, but hope that we can make a bigger impact and get many more people to come."

A total of 10 local breweries rolled kegs into the fest, each pouring two varieties—some seasonal Oktoberfests—and chatting with drinkers about their shared thirst for microbrews. Participating breweries included Noble Ale Works, Anaheim; Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, San Diego; Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Long Beach; Haven Gastrobpub, Orange; Cismontane Brewing Company, Rancho Santa Margarita; Stone Brewing Co., Escondido; Pizza Port Brewing Company, Solana Beach; The Bruery, Placentia; Tustin Brewing Company, Tustin; and Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Redlands. 
 
Some of our samplings are showcased above, along with eats crucial to keeping festival-goers standing. We're still daydreaming about Brew Hawg BBQ's mac and cheese, which we generously smothered in barbecue sauce. Slater's 50/50's famous bacon brownie hit our sweet spots, too.
 
Booze, food, raffle wenches and warm people aside, we also soaked up speeches by the always-entertaining Crouch, OC Coastkeeper Executive Director & CEO Garry Brown and Biosynthetic Technologies Director of Strategic Development, Greg Blake. Brown highlighted OC Coastkeeper's mission, along with some of its programs and accomplishments. One major initiative grabbed our attention away from our pint glasses as he explained: "For about 35 years, you saw no kelp along our beaches. We spent eight years growing kelp in laboratories, taking it and putting it on reefs from basically Newport Beach to Dana Point."
 
Blake's speech also kept us captivated, notably when he described what his company has dubbed "silent oil spills."
A lot of people are surprised to know that 40 percent of the water pollution in California comes from used motor oil. There's about 12 billion gallons of petroleum-based lubricant sold every year. 10 billion gallons of that ends up in the environment. You do the math. Take all the oil spills, tanker spills, pipeline spills for the last 100 years. We lose more petroleum to the environment in 100 days from these oil spills. So when you go out to your car and you drive home, look on the road, look in the parking lots, look in the streets. You're going to see oil dripped all around. When it rains, that oil gets washed right into the storm sewers and right into the ocean. We call those silent oil spills because people don't know about it.

We tip our glasses to you, OC Coastkeeper, event sponsors, local breweries, local eateries and green locals. Although the priority of CleanWaterFest-goers may have been to sample as many craft brews as possible, the larger mission at hand seemed to maintain its front burner spot, as attendees were happy to guiltlessly engage in day drinking for the greater good of OC's coast. 

 

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