Review – Bites & Brew at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Beach

I have had great beers in a cold warehouse setting off a freeway off-ramp and I have had bad beers in fully kitted out taprooms but having a selection of curated beers on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean is a whole new level.

Yesterday, I attended the Brews & Bites at the extremely fancy Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel (maybe Dana Point). So fancy that empty glasses and empty food plates were whisked away by an attentive wait staff.

I will circle back to the beer later but the food was certainly a co-star. I mean, there was an ice cream bar with beer caramel (and sprinkles amongst other toppings). And two of the ice cream were beer accented.

Myself and my beer buddy Rich sampled all the food from the lamb sliders, to pretzels, quesadilla, curry fish and chips and a Korean corn dog. The borracho taco which was more a quesadilla to me was my favorite with the curry being my least even though the fish was nicely done. All the dishes had a kick to them, nothing plain to be found.

There were a lot of pilsners and lagers on hand which matched the bright sunshine of the day perfectly. Sage has their new LA LA Lager which was almost my favorite of the beers drunk were it not for the Bow & Arrow table where you could have the Easy Cactus Lager or Denim Tux Blue Corn Pilsner. The lager was Vienna malty in style and the pilsner was the perfect start to tge afternoon.

Another good choice was Like, Wow hoppy lager a collaboration between People’s Republic of South Central and The Bruery. It used Vista hops and had an apricot version as well.

I could easily get used to this ritzy beer festival.

Putting on the Ritz (Carlton)

I got a taste of luxe life in San Juan Capistrano over Christmas at the Inn at the Mission and now not far away is another event that looks extravagant.  Below are the details.  I will pop back in with why the beer is special at the end…

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s first Culinary Cookout of 2023 is Brews & Bites – a beachside beer festival with an incredible and diverse lineup of brewers from across the nation and internationally on Sunday, February 19 from 1- 4 pm.

Set on the resort’s lush Dana Lawn that overlooks miles of the Pacific Ocean, attendees will enjoy an afternoon of unlimited beer tastings with a keepsake glass and access to global street food stations serving up wood fire Bavarian pretzels, Korean corn dogs, New Delhi fish and chips, and borracha tacos. Lawn games and entertainment complete the afternoon.”

Here is a link to buy tickets ($150 per person; kids under 9 are complimentary).

Brewery Headliners: 

This is not a hastily thrown together brewery list.  Bottle Logic and The Bruery may not have whales at their tables but even their most basic list of beers are great.  Many have not had a beer from Kimberly Rice and Sage and this is a great way to introduce yourself to their beers.  They do a lot of farm to table and grow hops via Sow A Heart Farms.  For me the headliner is Bow & Arrow from New Mexico.  Most of the press is about the owners, and rightfully so, but I have had a couple of their beers and they are great.  I say have the beers then read their story.