Friday night, set in the historic building that memorializes Sacramento’s railroad legacy, the perfect local craft beer fundraiser went down! Dubbed ‘Ales on the Rails’ the California State Railroad Museum (CSRM) Foundation offered more beer than anyone could drink for $50 for a general ticket and only $65 for a VIP ticket. Also, to encourage safety, they sold Designated Driver tickets for $25.
I think many of us forget about the CSRM, but they are continuously putting on great events for our community. Their most popular event, which sells out in less than an hour is their ‘Polar Express’ experience that runs during the winter (which deserves another post in itself). They killed it with this event, seriously, any self-prescribed beer connoisseur that was not in attendance failed! I know Sacramentans love beer. It’s a fact. They spend about the same price, during the sweltering summer and wait in ridiculous lines for the smallest pours. This event, was the complete opposite! The CSRM was highly air conditioned, there were no lines (except for the mac-n-cheese), and the beer exceeded the attendance.
I can’t write this without letting you know I’m not an avid beer drinker. At all. So with that being said, know that I took myself out of my comfort zone and tried every single brewery there! I can appreciate the craft of brewing beer, but it just doesn’t tantalize my taste buds like wine, or vodka!
The setting was awesome! Huge, old school cars and locomotives were everywhere. Some you could wander through and others just made for a great background. They also opened the huge museum doors, which made for a gorgeous view of the two locomotives where the VIP could hang out, with a gorgeous view of the Sacramento sunset. It really was a relaxed and great vibe.
Beers in attendance: Amador Brewing Company, Carneros Brewing Company, Device Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch, Heretic Brewing Company, Hoppy Brewing Company, Knee Deep Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Mraz Brewing Company, New Glory Craft Brewery, New Helvetia Brewing Co., Rubicon Brewing Company, Six Rivers Brewery, St. Killian Importing Co., Track 7 Brewing Co., Wildcard Brewing, and Yolo Brewing Company.
A lot of the breweries were serving IPA’s. However, some had lighter stuff as well. There was even a Chili Pepper Spicy Ale from Six Rivers Brewery, which I did not try, but J did. I was told it had a kick, a huge kick at the end. Crabbie’s served up an alcoholic ginger beer, which was tasty – but will continue to confuse the masses, since most ginger beer is non-alcoholic. Our favorite by far, they knew us by the end, was Schilling Company. They were serving their hard ciders. They had ginger and pom-cran on tap, then towards the end they started opening their cans. They made me a hybrid of grapefruit and pom-cran and I’m pretty sure I fell in love, right then and there.
The food (not including VIP) was just as great and came in mass quantities. By far, Howe It’s Done catering killed it with their mac-n-cheese, topped with Italian style ground turkey, and bread crumbs. They weren’t handing out small samples either, these were huge, size of our hand, samples…AND you could
go back as many times as you wanted, say 3 or so 😉
Best plated appetizer would have to go to Fat’s Family of Restaurants for their Chilli Otah Otah. It was tasty, lots of flavors going on at once. But the plating is what made it so attractive. Oh, and I cannot forget The Melting Pot who was there serving up chocolate fondue, which was the first thing that I did when I got there. A strawberry, a brownie bite, a piece of cake, and chocolate for dipping – I mean, people pay lots of money to eat at their establishment, and here we got it for free, as many samples of this as we wanted!
After we took in the whole scene, we decided to wander outside and check out our VIP status. We climbed up the authentic locomotive stairs and were transcended into the “New Orleans” themed car. Courtyard D’ORO was serving a plate of three appetizers, while Yolo Brew was serving up a special beer just for the VIP. The group consensus was the beef wellington was our favorite app. As we walked from the first train to the second, we stopped to get the next appetizer, which was a potato skin. This was another fave of the night, we probably could have ate the entire serving tray, but we hung out, devoured one each, and of course snapped some pics.
Since this is a fundraiser, the DD’s still had to pay to enter. However, they still had access to all the food (minus the VIP) we did and they also had a table set-up with water and mini soda bottles. How’s that for accommodation? I thought it was a great touch. Also, they had the VIP swag bags available upon arrival. But since I wanted to enjoy the experience, I didn’t grab mine until we headed out. It was a great mix of beer and CSRM goodies – Yolo Brew 9Run6 beer, a conductor whistle, CSRM ride passes, Blue Diamond Smokehouse almonds, and a sticker all in a reusable bag.
It’s hard to believe this is a fundraiser! Everyone was enjoying themselves, especially all of the vendors. It was fun to interact with them and have them explain their product, they were all so passionate. They were kind to our lack of beer knowledge and liking, but would graciously pick one that they thought we’d enjoy. I’m hoping they continue to do this event annually, because as it grows, I know Sacramento will follow suit and attend.
The best underrated event in Sacramento in 2015, by far!