Beer circus brews live music, carnival games

Crystian Mendoza
Sports Editor

The Lagunitas Brewing Co. and the Learning Centers at Fairplex in Pomona hosted Lagunitas Beer Circus on Saturday.

The event featured two stages of ‘freaktacular’ entertainment, live music, multiple carnival-styled games and cold brews.

The live music stage featured performances by Kehoe International, Metalachi, Mike Dillon Band and Dan Deacon.

At the same time, burlesques, aerialists and more than 100 performers were strewn around the circus in sideshow acts and other things that, as their saying goes, cannot be unseen.

“I came to enjoy all of the different flavors of Lagunitas beers and IPAs available in one place,” said Alex Rodriguez, 22, of Montebello.

“Their motto of ‘see things that cannot be unseen’ is so true. I saw so much weird stuff going on today that was really awesome, while at the same time it’s a little bit disturbing, but I still enjoyed it.”

The entertainment stage featured performances from the Squidling Brothers, the Velvet Crayon and Vau de Vire Society, which is a new breed of circus theatrics.

Upon entering, guest were immediately greeted with a complimentary beer token to redeem inside, along with a 19 oz. of their 12th of Never Ale, which is a pale, cold and slightly bitter-tasting beer.

Additional beer was sold onsite with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Learning Centers at Fairplex.

“I think overall it is fun, it is pretty creative and I’m having a good time,” Anthony Perez, 21, of Las Vegas said.

“I enjoyed all of the different performances they had going on the stage, I even saw a lady swallow a sword, it was crazy stuff.”

He said the five-hour drive for him and his roommate was definitely worth it.

A clown on a unicycle roamed the circus juggling bowling pins as on-lookers stared in amazement, while enjoying their favorite Lagunitas beer.

About 10 food trucks were also available on-site, providing various types of food options to circus-goers.

Those options ranged from traditional hot dogs, burgers and pizza to carne asada fries and Thai food.

The Midway Games of Wonder, Games of Whoa entertained the crowd as they rushed to lineup to win either a Lagunitas bandana, a pair of novelty glasses or Lagunitas temporary tattoos.

“The games were pretty fun but they could’ve been a little bit more challenging,” Salvador Sotelo, 26, resident of Long Beach said.

“Other than that, my favorite beer of the day was Brown Shugga’ because it was their strongest.”

Sotelo won a pair of glasses and a Lagunitas beer from the games he played.

At 9.7 percent alcohol by volume, Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ was a crowd favorite that evening as Manny Fernandez, 22, of Las Vegas also mentioned as the best among all the libations he tried.

“It was my first time ever trying Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ ale,” Fernandez said.

“I’ve tried their Maximus IPA before and that one is pretty strong, but it doesn’t compare to this one and now it’s my new favorite.”

Lagunitas Brewing Co. markets Brown Shugga’ as ‘Dangerously Slammable’ as the special ale is made by feeding brown cane sugar to cultured brewery yeast.

As the time approached 4 p.m., circus-goers rushed to the various beer stations scattered throughout the venue in an attempt to get their last couple of beers down before last call at 4:15 p.m.

“It was a new experience,” Rodriguez said. “I will definitely be coming back next year to ‘un-see’ everything all over again.”

Crystian Mendoza can be reached at

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