Blues and Brews: A Mammoth Mountain Tradition

Buddy Guy headlines the summertime soundfest.

UPPER ELEVATION GOOD TUNES: If you pass a billboard of Mammoth Mountain, or flip by a magazine advertisement, you're bound to see one thing: snow. Lots of snow, and people in snow gear, and big puffy jackets and snuggly wool hats and not a pair of shorts or sandals in sight. Of course, this makes the summertime scene on the mountain a secret for some, though it is a secret that is pretty widely known these days. The Bike Park is hopping when the temps push into the 80s, and the fishing and hiking scenes are remarkably robust. What snow, some might shrug (though, truly, there's a lot of crossover business of visitors who love both). And many a grown-up visitor anticipates that moment near the middle of summer when things take a turn for the suds and the sounds. We speak of the Mammoth Festival of Beers Bluesapalooza, which will celebrate its 20th in 2015. That means it has had two decades to gather together some fine regional brewmakers -- and some who make their suds beyond the Sierra, too -- and some of the tip-top-iest musicians for the tip tip of California (okay, that's Mt. Whitney, but close enough). So who's the headliner for the 2014 party? Why it is...

MR. BUDDY GUY: Big news, indeed. The six-time Grammy winner will be up the mountain, making beautiful blues, as will Taj Mahal Trio, John Hiatt and The Combo, Nikki Hill, and a host of other lauded performers. As for the brews end of things? You can count on Mammoth Brewing Company to play a major role at the Saturday, Aug. 2 Grand Tasting Event. Other foamy names include Anderson Valley Brewing Company, June Lake Brewing, and Moonlight Brewing Co. It's a list as tall as Mammoth Mountain is high. (Disclaimer: poetic license employed.)

AS FOR DATES? Think the last Thursday in July and the first weekend in August. How's that for hitting high summer in a libation-nice, tunes-filled fashion? (It's pretty dang good, is what.)

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