Surf ‘n’ Suds Ventura Serves Up Top Brews and Tunes

By Lori Denman-Underhill

There was no better way to celebrate a weekend in Ventura than attending the Surf ‘n’ Suds Beer Festival.

Surf ‘n’ Suds started in Carpinteria six years ago and celebrated their fourth year in Ventura this past weekend at San Buenaventura State Beach on Sunday, May 18.

The event was created by co-founders Andres Nuño and Mike Van Stry, a publisher who ran DEEP surf Magazine. The duo threw a party to thank DEEP contributors and that event sparked the idea for Surf ‘n’ Suds.

“I’ve known Mike for about 20 years because I wrote for DEEP since I was 17,” Nuño told Citizens Journal. “We threw an all-you-can-drink and eat hang out event eight years ago for anyone who had supported DEEP as a gesture of thanks. A lot of our clients were craft breweries. They pulled (beer) for the event. Everyone thought it was such a cool concept that we then created Surf ‘n’ Suds. We had 45 different breweries the first year and the event sold out every year.”

Last year’s Carpinteria event featured 72 breweries on site. “It was the largest beer festival outside of the Firestone Invitational,” Nuño said proudly. “Following Surf ‘n’ Suds success, we have been hired to run other beer festivals across the nation.”

“Ventura has been a hot bed for craft beer,” added Nuño. “We increased from 55 to 68 on-site breweries, including 14 new breweries for the event. We also feature wines and ciders, that are always enjoyed by some of the female attendees. Because we get a lot of craft beer guys attending, who then bring their wife or girlfriend who would prefer a cider or wine. Then it turns out, 49 percent of our ticket buyers are women.”

Photo provided by Andres Nuno, Surf ‘n’ Suds

The event was truly exciting for all because it tapped (pun intended) into all the senses. Delicious food, unique drafts and great music kept us going all day. Classic rock group, Crosscut Band 805; reggae band, After the Smoke; and DJ Hecktik got the crowd energized. There were fun activities including mega sized beer pong and cornhole. Food trucks on the scene kept the crowd happy all day. Another pleasing perk was for those who purchased VIP passes and were granted early entry and special samples before the crowd filtered in. Downtown Ventura was a huge supporter of the event.

Photo provided by Andres Nuno

Aside from the fun and games, the most important aspect of Surf ‘n’ Suds was of course, the beer. There were many local breweries present at Surf ‘n’ Suds, including Ventura Coast Brewing Company that opened downtown in October of 2016. Beer connoisseurs flock to VCBC for their selection of ales, lagers and sours. They have just started to enjoy their new “hazies.”

VCBC founder Kyle Thille was pouring a couple of their beers at Surf ‘n’ Suds. “We’ve done the Carpentaria surf and suds since before we opened in 2016, and been going to it as consumers since 2013,” Thille said. “This will be our second year at the Ventura Surf ‘n’ Suds.”

“Andres, Surf ‘n’ Suds founder, runs the festival in a way that really cares about the brewers,” Thille explained. “We had a brewers’ reception and bottle share at our place last night that was really fun, and he makes sure that everyone has a great time.”

Of the many brews enjoyed by all, there was one that stood out to shine. Tres Cervecerías Märzen was specially crafted and made its debut at Surf ‘n’ Suds Ventura.

Logo provided by Andres Nuno.

“This special ‘festbier’ was made for the event,” Thille explained. “We brewed it here with help from Poseidon and Topa Topa. It was a lot of fun having them come out and spend the brew day, and I think the beer is great. Perfect balance of a malty lager with a little bit of dry hop. It is great for the fest.”

As the day came to a close before 5pm, smiles were seen across the park, new friendships were formed and we were all left thinking, “when’s the next Surf ‘n’ Suds?!”

Photos provided by Andres Nuno, taken by Surf ‘n’ Suds’ Facebook followers.

Lori Denman-Underhill has been a professional journalist since 1996. She has worked as associate editor for the Los Angeles Daily News TODAY Magazines and has freelanced for LA Weekly, and more. She is now the Ventura reporter for Citizens Journal.

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