By Ann Greer

Enjoy airplanes? Enjoy tasting craft beers? Then the 3rd Annual Props and Hops Craft Beer Festival at the Palm Springs Air Museum is the place for you this Saturday, November 22, 2014. As of publication deadline, twenty-three craft breweries were confirmed! The breweries will be dispensing four ounce tastes at the Palm Springs Air Museum, located at 745 N. Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs. Entrance is from Gene Autry, between Ramon Road to the south and Vista Chino to the north. Gates open at 12 noon, and last call is…well, let’s just say that the published closing time is 6 PM.

“The breweries love coming out here” said Palm Springs Air Museum’s Special Events chair Lisa Slam. “They love the fact that their booths are set up inside the hangar, and our vintage airplanes are only a few feet away. As a matter of fact, the hangar doors [which are about 100 feet wide] remain open, so everyone can mingle inside and out, sampling beers and watching the ramp, where aircraft will be taking off and landing throughout the afternoon. There will be at least three food vendors, and live music! You have to be 21 or older, so of course, no children or teens; however, dogs on leashes are welcome.”

Confirmed breweries (in alpha order of course) are Ace Premium Hard Cider, Avery Brewery from Boulder, CO; Babe’s Bar-B-Q Brewhouse; Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Black Market Brewing Company, Bootlegger’s Brewery, Coachella Valley Brewing Company, Coronado Brewing Company, Drake’s Brewing, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewery, Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, King Harbor Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, La Quinta Brewing Company, the Lost Abbey, Mission Brewery, New Belgium Brewing, Old Orange Brewing Company, Packing House Brewing Company, Port Brewing Company, Refuge Brewery, Stone Brewing Company and Three Weavers.

White Labs from San Diego will demonstrate the various stages of the brewing process. Perhaps the most unique feature of this Festival is the Cicerone Rare Beer Tasting inside a vintage DC-3 in flight over the Coachella Valley. Two flights with 14 passengers or tasters each were available. This special tasting is already sold out, but it bears mentioning anyway, so that you can be prepared for next year. The cost for this “Rare” tasting event was $175 each, and it did include Festival admission. Remember this for next year! If you’re interested, then let the Festival organizers know. It isn’t just the airplane, it’s also how much “rare” beer is available, after all, it is called “rare beer tasting” for a reason!

Brent Schmidman is the man who launched the idea of this Craft Beer Festival. “I will always have a passion for growing the beer culture here in the Valley. The Palm Springs Air Museum is a perfect venue to have this amazing craft beer event. This allows us to showcase a lot of great craft beer breweries in one place. The fact that you can be walking among vintage airplanes and drinking your favorite craft beer and even get a chance to fly in one of the vintage airplanes, is priceless! There is plenty of room to keep growing this event here and that’s our goal. This event is the flagship craft beer event in the Valley and will be the anchor event for Coachella Valley Beer Week next year.”

Ah…music! Confirmed live acts on the docket are DJ “All Night Shoes”, the Anonymous 5 and the widely popular 1980’s cover band, Long Duk Dong.

Drawing on various influences, DJ “All Night Shoes” aka Alex Harrington looks to create a feeling and ambiance for his listeners. His sets focus on a vibe and groove. No tricks, no gimmicks, it’s about the sounds and the memories. His sets contain elements of passion and spontaneity, allowing Alex to make each show a unique experience.

LONG DUK DONG is a new-wave/old-school cover band that gets the party started, and is one of Southern California’s premier party bands. Playing a great mix of songs you remember from junior-high dances, MTV (when they played music), and countless movie soundtracks and TV shows that aired throughout the decade which is remembered simply as “the 80’s.” High energy singing backed by amazing keyboards and an awesome set of electric drums…. just close your eyes and you are back in the era of pinned jeans, Ronald Reagan and the Atari 2600. Band members are Nicco Ysiano, Chelsea Sugarbritches, Joe Willis, Chris Koenig, Craig Brown and Jeff Mazer.

Winners of the Home Brewing Competition will be announced Saturday.

FACTS: Entrance to the Craft Beer Festival is a mere $40 per person. This includes eight 4-ounce tastes, plus event glassware while supplies last. For those eager beavers who buy online, the price is only $35 – be sure and show your receipt or confirmation number on your mobile phone at the entrance. And remember, if you look younger than your age (and many of us do), be prepared to show a valid picture ID. Think of it as a badge of honor, and not an annoyance. And if you can safely handle more than 8 tastes of beer (obviously inebriated folk will be cut off) additional tickets can be purchased onsite $5 for three tickets.

Although your ticket to the Craft Beer Festival does not include entrance to the museum, the festival takes place inside one of the three airplane hangars, and several exhibits and vintage airplanes are accessible inside the South Hangar and outside on the tarmac – the two locations where the Festival takes place. All of the vintage aircraft normally inside the hangar will be outside for all to enjoy. The PT-17 Stearman (a very cool biplane) will be flying throughout the day, and festival attendees can purchase a biplane ride starting at $150 for 15 minutes. To purchase tickets, For info specifically on the Festival, call 760-482-1832 and to reach the Palm Springs Air Museum general info number, 760-778-6262.

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