It's rare to find a Santa Monica-based festival that doesn't take place within a whiff of the ocean. There's good reason for that, of course, what with the alluring sunsets and walkable beachfront, not to mention the pier and... the parking.... Still, it's refreshing when a weekend party so dedicated to craft beer decides to move a little inland. That's when you know they're serious.
And serious is exactly what this weekend's Third Annual BAM Fest 2012 is. Well, relatively speaking. The 18th Street Arts Center, which hosts the annual event, is awfully serious about art, music, culture and collaboration. Their acre-large assemblage of studios, offices and open workspaces provide local and in-residence artists with the tools and breathing room they need to really succeed. As it turns out, they're also serious about throwing a party.
BAM, of course, is an acronym for Beer, Art & Music. Independently, each could (and often does) necessitate a celebration all their own, but combining the three on the grounds of an urban artist oasis is a guaranteed recipe for a good time. On the music front, there will be four different bands spread over the afternoon event, keeping the crowd energized in the weekend sun. For art, revelers can expect three full art galleries displaying a variety of exhibits, as well as open artists studios, tutorials, and a market for those with a deep desire to purchase local art while drinking beer. The missing 'F' in the acronym ought to stand for Food trucks, which will also be out in force, including the Nom Nom Truck, Border Grill and Baby's Badass Burgers. But let's be honest, you're going for the beer.
As it turns out, that's a smart choice. More than 35 craft breweries will be represented, most from within California. Of course, there are a few notable exceptions, including Maredsous, Ommegang, Duvel-Moortgat and Brasserie d'Achouffe. As for the local boys? Keep an eye out for The Bruery, El Segundo Brewing, Hangar 24, Angel City Brewing and the shifty folks over at Golden Road Brewing, who have yet to find a festival they didn't like. Your $40 advanced ticket (or $45 at the door) gets you your own sampler glass, emblazoned with the BAM Fest logo and waiting to be filled. And no, this is not a drink ticket or one-and-done scenario; grab your glass, get there early, and sample as much as you'd like, all afternoon.
The Saturday shindig kicks off at 1pm, with kegs tapped and bands ready to rock. However, come 6pm, it's handles up and banjos down, because the party is over. Our recommendation? Get your tickets early to save a few bucks, and start looking for parking now, because BAM Fest 2012 is likely to be the best Westside event of the fall.
BAM Fest 2012
Saturday, October 6th 1p - 6p
1639 18th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
For more food and drink events visit kcet.org/events/food.