LA Vegan Beer Fest Takes The Rose Bowl By Storm!

May 20th, 2015 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles

Beer Fest entrance

Hello hello, happy hump day! Happy What I Ate Wednesday! Are you ready for a happy happy recap of one of my very favorite days of the entire year – the LA Vegan Beer & Food Festival??!

Seriously, Vegan Beer Fest is the best. Just the absolute best. Last year I wrote: “It’s like, one day of pure unabashed and unadulterated awesome. Vegans – the happiest vegans! – everywhere, all around. So many friendly and familiar (and even famous) faces. Good music – live and turned up loud. PERFECT WEATHER. Incredible food, soooo much food, from raw kale salad, to gourmet Mexican, to mac ‘n cheeze + ribz turned into a grilled cheese sandwich. And of course, beer. All the beer.

Beer Fest is magical, and it’s made even better by the fact that it’s the event where Jeremy and I first met, 2 years ago. So like, basically every year we get a giant anniversary party with all our friends!

And this year, things were made even MORE MAGICAL by the fact that the festival was bigger and better in an all new location – the Pasadena Rose Bowl! So much fun, and so. many. people. The more the merrier!

I’m going to share my food and fun-filled highlights of the day, but if you’re interested in reading some more general coverage, Laura Hooper Beck wrote this super awesome and hi-larious piece for Vice.

Alright, now onto my pics! –>

beer glass vegan beer festdrinking beer vegan beer fest

vegan beer fest rose bowl

vegan beer fest big mac

We started off strong right out the gate, with the famous (infamous?) vegan “Bic Mac” from Doomies. EPIC.

beer fest mac n yease

beer fest ayinde mac n yease
Chef Ayinde of The Lusty Vegan, manning his grill for legions of adoring Yease lovers.

mac n yease vegan beer fest
And really, what better way to follow up a vegan Big Mac, than with a hearty portion of the incredible, the fantastical, the famous (NOT infamous) Mac ‘N Yease!! (it really is the BEST homemade vegan mac there is.)

pretzel necklace beer fest
Please note the pretzel necklaces . . .

funny signs beer fest

vegan beer fest crowd

vegan beer fest love birds
Me and my honey, enjoying some tacos (and a moment to ourselves) on the Rose Bowl lawn. For seriously, Beer Fest is such an amazing way to celebrate our anniversary!

vegan beer fest caprese
Caprese salad from the new all-vegan cheese shop, Vromage.

Sooo, last week I wrote a little blog post about gin and green juice and balance as a key component of holistic health. (Oh and yes, events like Beer Fest are definitely on the “gin” side of the equation, but as far as I’m concerned, are a beautiful and essential part of a healthy, happy, fully-felt life!) So yeah, anyway, since I’d written about gin, my friend Brian booted up the Periscope app, and asked me about my favorite gin. You can watch that little video right here, and also, HEY! Periscope is AWESOME! Download the app for free, then follow Brian @The Sexy Vegan, and follow me @Sayward Rebhal, and let’s connect! Such a fun way to get another little look into each others’ everyday lives. ♥

empty beer vegan beer fest


vegan ginger beer
Everyone *loved* this ginger beer. Neither Jeremy nor I cared for it much, but we were definitely the minority (like majorly minor). So if you see this in stores, you should probably try it!

vegan beer fest dumplings
Brian and his wife raved about these shiitake dumplings from Bling Bling.

vegan beer fest the vedge
And we snapped this quick pic with a glowing and beautiful (and quite pregnant) Jessica from The Vegde – she put on Vegan Street Fair! – in the corridor leading to the Bruins’ locker room. (Which was the location of the VIP Lounge! Very fun little twist, that one.)

vegan mac n cheese waffle
This is a mac ‘n cheese waffle. Joni insisted it was de-lish!

vegan beer fest vietnamese nachos
Oh hey! Vietnamese nachos, with sriracha cheeze sauce, 5-spice tofu, and tons of cilantro + mint. These were amaaaazing

vegan beer fest cupcakes

vegan beer fest cupcake

We ended the day with a couple of cupcakes, because duh. And it was the perfect way to wrap up such an incredible, fun-filled, food-filled, booz-y, music-y, magical day!

So until next year, Beer Fest. I CAN HARDLY WAIT!!

♥ ♥ ♥

  • Bianca

    DUUUUUUDE. Vegan Beer Fest is the stuff my dreams are made of. I will get there one day. Oh yes, I will get there. MAC & CHEESE WAFFLES! BEER! NACHOS! BEER! BIG MACS! BEER! OMG!

  • Tamara

    I was so envious all day as I saw all the amazing food (and beer) pop up in my IG feed. I’m going to need to make my way to LA for the Vegan Beer Fest one of these years. Looks amazing!

    Just curious, I know you post a lot of gluten-free recipes. I think I had assumed you were gf, but now I’m thinking maybe not, but you just clarify which recipes are? (Trying to gauge if a lot of the beers and food options were gluten-free. I’m not gf, just interested!)

  • MarionCooks

    I actually wanted to comment on the same thing! I thought I remembered Sayward saying in her “failing health as a vegan”
    post that she was now gluten-free (and in posts since then?), but now I’m kind of confused. I’m certainly not trying to be the “gluten police” or imply that it’s bad to have gluten *sometimes* if you find that you feel best when primarily gluten-free (as long as you don’t have celiac disease, of course) – but I am genuinely curious about how one finds that balance. I am in the middle of trying to determine whether or not I am sensitive to gluten, and if some hormonal issues and joint pain I’ve been dealing with can be helped by avoiding it… But I have wondered if I can have non-GF pizza or beer, etc. occasionally, or if it really has to be never (if gluten is, in fact, an issue for me). I know celiac disease is more black & white, but what about for people who just have a sensitivity? Sorry to hijack this post, but I would really love to hear about how you have figured out what – if any – amount of gluten is tolerable to you, and at what point it starts effing with you. I’m sure it varies from person to person, but how do you find that balance? Maybe this topic would make a good post?! :)

    At any rate, all that food and beer looks delicious. What a fun way to celebrate your anniversary. Cheers!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Hi Marion – thanks for the comment and I completely understand the confusion! Here’s where I’m at right now:

    I have been completely gluten-free (food) for years, ever since I got sick (you were right – you read it in my Facing Failing Health article). I reintroduced beer at some point, and felt like I was fine with it. Then I decided to go OFF beer for a year and see how that felt. I did, and when I reintroduced it a year later, I felt no different, so I’ve been drinking beer (but still eating 100% gluten free food) ever since.

    My gluten sensitivity (non-celiac) developed when I was pregnant, and my naturopath said that since it had developed under specific conditions, then there was a good chance that it would eventually go away. I had been nervous to test it because I used to feel SO rotten and I was loathe to risk going back to feeling that way. But honestly, I also haaaate being gluten free! And recently, I decided to just say “eff it” and start experimenting.

    So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m experimenting with gluten and seeing how it feels. It’s still in-progress which is why I haven’t written about it yet. Also, it’s honestly a really touchy subject for me. I feel like there’s a lot of negativity and a lot of callousness thrown at non-celiac gluten intolerant folks, even by otherwise very level headed individuals. So I’ve been hesitant to speak publicly about this process. I prefer to sort it out on my own, then make a big post about it once I’ve made sense of everything.

    Anyway, hope that helps to explain where I’m at! Sorry for the confusion, and good luck with your own gluten journey!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Hi Tamara, so I answered Marion’s comment below regarding my gluten-free/gluten-y current situation, so check that out for the answer to that question (and sorry for any confusion!) ;-)

    As for gluten-free options at beer fest, there are always a few beers and ciders that are gluten free, but not a ton. But there’s a LOT of food options. Everything in this post is g-f except the Bic Mac, the dumplings, and the mac n cheese waffle. I’ve eaten gluten-free at Beer Fest every other year I’ve gone, and it’s always been amazing!

    Hope that helps!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Oh my gawd Bianca, it is SO your kind of place! You would seriously die of happy. I can’t wait till you can make it – it’ll be so fun!!!

  • Tamara

    This is interesting, and makes perfect sense. Hope I didn’t prod you about something you’ve been trying to handle on your own!

    As a side note, thank you so much for always having such great, thoughtful posts and for engaging with your readers. You are one of the best. I don’t often comment, but I truly love reading your blog.

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    From one NCGS sufferer to another ((exuberant wave)): Just want to say I’m happy you’re able to experiment (that big mac looks amazing)! I’m in diagnosis limbo land right now, and trying to explain the hows and whys of my own gluten exposure/experiments is very confusing to outsiders (including some doctors). If it ends up being a full on fodmaps issue, I may cry. That would probably be the tipping point for me in getting a biopsy.

  • Rebecca Carnes

    I wouldn’t even know where to start with all that amazing looking food…..I would be shoving it all in my pockets hahahahaha! Gotta keep a look out for next year!!:)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    No no, not at all! I have a public blog where I write about food and health – you ABSOLUTELY had the right to ask! It’s my own issue feeling sensitive around it. I just said that to explain where I was coming from. =)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I very much think mine is fodmaps(ish) because when I lower my intake of other fructans like onion, garlic, and artichoke (and wheat is a fructan), sooooo many of my digestive issues lighten up.

    It’s way frustrating. I definitely feel your pain!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    You should totally come next year! it is ridiculously fun (and delicious!)