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Attendees of the Brewbies beer festival raise a toast to breast health awareness. Photo provided by
ColumnsCraft Beer in North County

Craft Beer in North County: Brewbies beer festival promotes breast health awareness

Call me biased, but of all the punnily named breast cancer awareness organizations, Brewbies is my favorite.

On Feb.. 8, the 11th annual Brewbies beer festival will be held at Bagby Beer Company in Oceanside (601 South Coast Highway). Attendees will enjoy beers from more than 50 specially invited breweries. All the proceeds from the event will go to the Keep A Breast foundation, which works globally to provide breast health education and support.

Melanie Pierce founded Brewbies in 2010. Her vision was to bring breast health education to the masses through the craft beer.

The San Diego craft beer community is especially focused on charitable causes (2018 donations were estimated at $5 million in the 2018 San Diego Craft Beer Economic Impact Study conducted by Cal State San Marcos). So, this festival was a natural fit. Pierce credits the camaraderie and attitude of mutual support in the craft brewing industry for keeping the festival going for so long.

In fact, it has been so successful that annual Brewbies beer festivals now take place in Alameda, near Oakland, and Charlottesville, Virginia, too.

In its first 10 years, Brewbies has raised more than $540,000 for Keep A Breast.

Tickets for the event are $49 in advance, $60 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the Brewbies website,

To add to the fun, the 2020 Brewbies festival includes a Pink Beer Competition, in which brewers are allowed to make any sort of beer as long as it looks pink. In the past, unusual additions like beets, pink glitter and fruit took center stage — even one with dead bugs. The trophy is a ceramic breast cast handmade by artist Nora Alins-Carpentier. Last year’s winner was Eagle Rock Brewing from Los Angeles, who won for their Flander’s style red sour ale called Yearling with Tart Cherries.

North County breweries taking part this year include Bagby Beer Company, Pizza Port Brewing Company, Mother Earth Brew Co., Booze Brothers Brewing Co., Stone Brewing, Northern Pine Brewing, Culture Brewing, and Burgeon Beer Co. In addition, other well-regarded breweries from the rest of San Diego are participating, as well as others from farther afield including Eagle Rock Brewery, Faction Brewing, Smog City, Green Cheek, Firestone Walker and Sierra Nevada.

Other things to look forward to at the festival are a food drive, a voter registration drive, a cornhole tournament, and a raffle with some great prizes from Electra Bicycle Company, El Gato Charters, Ernie Ball, Obey and Schecter Guitars.

Attendees are reminded not to drink and drive: Bagby is located four blocks from the Oceanside Transit Center. Take the train or bus, arrange a designated driver, or take a rideshare. Use the link to get 20% off two rides to or from Bagby Beer Company from Lyft.