Without A Net | Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Eat, drink and give to charity

My all time favorite kind of beer is... free beer.

Which would explain how I found myself waking up early on a Saturday morning to volunteer at a charity event in Ventura. Working a four-hour shift got me out of paying the $60 admission price to the Salute Beer Festival at the San Buenaventura State Park. It was originally my brother's idea to volunteer, but it didn't take him much arm twisting to convince me to go.

The event was hosted by a local food bank, Food Share of Ventura County, and featured over 60 brewery and food vendors. We signed up for the morning shift and somehow ended up commandeering a golf cart. The majority of our time was spent delivering kegs, ice and food to the the various vendors before the event opened to the public. (We were sober - volunteers had to finish their shift before they could start sucking them down.)

I had been to beer festivals before, but this one was by far my favorite one yet. There was no need to trade tickets for beer or cash for food - the price of admission gave one unlimited servings of both. And 100 percent of the proceeds went to Food Share.

My favorites of the day included the oyster shooters from Brophys Bros. Restaurant and Clam Bar and the Habanero pilsner from The Brewhouse, both of Santa Barbara.

I am completely sober as I write this, so I think I can say that volunteering had left me with a longer-lasting feel-good sensation than all that free beer.