July 24 2013 12:38 PM

Our top three picks of San Diego events this week

Bet on the ponies after guzzling beers at the Del Mar Beer Fest.
Photo by Dirk Hansen


San Diego isn’t at a loss for beer festivals. We seem to have one every weekend and, for the most part, they’re pretty similar. So why make the Del Mar Racetrack Beer Fest our favorite event this week? We figure that after the insane nerd-nado of Comic-Con and its traffic-making ways, you could probably use a beer.

The festival, happening from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 27, will feature 35 breweries, 16 of which are from right here in San Diego. The line-up includes AleSmith Brewing Company, Port Brewing, Monkey Paw, Societe, Lost Abbey (which received the “Champion Brewery” award at the 2013 San Diego International Beer Competition), Stone Brewing Co. and Green Flash Brewing. Bottom line: beer aficionados will have roughly 120 beers to choose from. In the words of Frank the Tank from the movie Old School, “Once it hits your lips, it’s so good.”

Event co-organizer Tom Nickel points out that since the fest is happening at the track (2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. in Del Mar) during racing season, attendees get more bang for their buck.

“You can go to the beer festival, and then you can go back and watch the races and watch the ponies,” Nickel says. There’s also a free concert that night by Sammy Hagar and the Wabos. That’s right: Van Halen’s ex-replacement singer will be on-hand to get the ladies reminiscing about their days as hair-metal babes in skintight acid-wash jeans. There will even be some of Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Tequila on hand if you want to go full-force on the nostalgia. 

“It’s multiple experiences in one,” Nickel says. “Definitely a unique experience in beer festing.”

Entry to the beer festival, races and concert is only $6. However, to taste the beers, it’s an additional $17, which gets you five tasting tickets, each one good for a 7-ounce pour. Go to the calendar section at dmtc.com for more info.


For its Jazz Residency Project, the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park picked three outstanding musicians to perform three Thursday evening shows each. First up in June was Danny Green and August’s featured artist will be Mark Dresser (with performances on Aug. 15, 22 and 29). At 7 p.m. Thursday, July 25, the truly outstanding Joshua White—whose piano skills secured him a second-place finish in the 2011 Thelonius Monk International Piano Competition—and his quartet will perform two sets with special guest Hugh Ragin. Ragin, a trumpeter, has performed with greats like Dizzy Gillespie and poet Amiri Baraka. The performance is free with museum admission, snacks and beverages will be available for purchase and the galleries will be open for perusing until 9 p.m. sdmart.org


The folks who organize the monthly “Visual Art Music Performance” showcase, better known as VAMP, choose performers from blind online submissions and then put them through a rigorous workshop process to flush out often powerful and onceprivate material. The final product is a live readings of stories, often accompanied by witty power-point style presentations, music and boisterous crowd reactions. This month’s showcase, from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Thursday, July 25, is themed “They Had It Coming” and the lineup features performances from nine writers, including Laura Condi, Jessica Hilt, Eddie Deull and Julia Evans. The monthly event’s been packing the Whistle Stop (2236 Fern St. in South Park) since 2009, so get there early to grab a seat. There’s a $5 suggested donation. sosaywecallonline.com

Does your event deserve to be in our top three? Email our events editor, Alex Zaragoza. You can also bug her on Twitter.