Sunday, February 25, 2018


Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the festival. If this doesn't help, please use the contact us form to ask your question. We are always looking to make this site more informative, and you can help!

Are Coleman stoves or lanterns permitted on the festival grounds?

 Yes, propane powered stoves and lanterns are allowed. This does NOT include propane-powered fire-pits. These are not allowed.

What about refrigerated trailers?

We do not have enough electrical power to adequately supply all the devices clubs want to bring, so refrigerators, freezers, kegerators, etc. are not allowed at the festival as powered items.

What about campground security and theft?

As with any campground experience, it is difficult to secure your belongings. The NCHF does not take responsibility for any stolen articles. Following some basic security precautions will help keep your valuables safe. Lock your wallets, cameras, etc. in your vehicle, and out of view. Leaving items in your tent or campsite is not a good idea. If you are in the campground and see suspicious activity, say something.

What about late night noise in upper campground? Trumpet playing, chanting, etc.

Be respectful to your neighbors. This is a festival, and for many people this is their big event of the year and really “celebrate”. But at the same time, this is a shared space. Do you play trumpet outdoors at 2AM at home?




Power usage in club booths?

The capacity of the power grid used to provide power at all the club booths on the fest grounds is limited to two 50-amp circuits. With the number of club booths this limits power usage to only low amperage devices like lights, food warmers, radios, and other low consumption electrical devices. To eliminate the breakers from continually tripping as we have seen in the past, it will not be possible to connect any electrical refrigeration units to the power grid or other high demand electrical appliances or devices. Please plan now on how to keep beer and food cold without the need of a refrigeration unit.

What about music on fest grounds?

During the day of the festival, please be considerate of your neighbors and the fest grounds in general. We ask that you not have loud amplified music playing during the festival. If your sound system is blasting away, it makes it hard for people to converse during the festival, and imposes your musical choices on everyone around your booth. We do enforce a 10PM “Lights out” on the festival grounds. At this point, all sound systems WILL go off, as power to the festival grounds is turned off at this point.


What about children at the festival?

Children are allowed anywhere at Lake Francis, EXCEPT on the festival grounds on Saturday. This is a change in policy for 2016! In the campgrounds, around the "town", the pool, the lake, OK. Just not on/in the festival area, nor in the back of club booths. We recognize this is a change and an impact on home brewers who make this a family outing, and apologize for this inconvenience.

What about dogs at the Festival?

Dogs/pets are allowed ONLY in the campgrounds and Lake Francis' "town". NO DOGS ALLOWED on festival grounds, or at Hoppy Hour. They are allowed in the campground areas, also on a leash. Please refer to Lake Francis pet policy on their website.

No pets are allowed in retreat, deluxe, mini deluxe cabins, or park model units.

Pets are allowed in RV, tent, and rustic cabins. Your pet must NOT be left unattended--please don't bring your animal to Lake Francis, then leave them in the camp site while you are at the festival!

Can I reserve a campsite?

In a word, NO! Camp sites are claimed on a first-come, first-served basis. We will be at capacity for camping space. If you are just two people, in a campsite, you probably need to share with other campers who arrive later. That way everyone has a place to set up their tents. We are all homebrewers, with a spirit of camaraderie, ingenuity and love to share, right?

We have two campgrounds now: the Upper Campground which we have always had, and now Lake Francis has created a Lower Campground adjacent to the festival grounds.

Can I bring an RV or Trailer?

Yes you can! Lake Francis has a fair number of pull-thru RV sites in the upper campground, and the lower/expanded campground can accommodate probably dozens! There are no hookups at the lower campground, and partial hookups at the upper: water and power only. There is a dump station on site for grey water; units must be self contained. Here is the link for Lake Francis' RV information page. These sites cannot be reserved in advance. Available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Is there an additional fee for an RV or Trailer?

No! The fees are the same for this weekend at Lake Francis. The price for the festival includes your camping, whether it's in a tent, trailer, RV, or "roughing it" under the trees!

How do I reserve a cabin?

All cabins are booked thru our online store. If you haven't been before, there are photos and descriptions of the cabins on our online store, and general information about cabins on the Lake Francis website.

What's required for the Club Keg Competition?

Each years' festival includes a beer competition in two beer styles. Clubs can submit one beer in each of the two styles (that's two kegs total for any one club). See the Club Keg Competition page for details on the beer style(s).

We "check-in" the beers at the commercial beer trailer adjacent to the dinner pavilion (hard to miss big white trailer with taps on the side) Saturday morning 10-11AM. Your beer and club info will be logged into a sign-up sheet, and your keg tagged with a random number.

If you want to submit your beer(s) here's what you need to provide:

Clubs need to provide the beer in a korny keg only (no Sanke). If you want to provide your keg in an iced bucket/cooler, great! We may or may not need this. If not we will return it to you at set up time.

We randomize the connection of the kegs to the jockey box for anonymous tasting. We have 28 taps available, so beer is accepted on a first come basis. We try to accommodate as many brewers as possible, so once the taps are filled, we set up beers on cobra taps. If you are in this "overflow" position, you will need to provide us with a cobra tap! We will let you know at time of drop-off if you are in the overflow.

Who can attend the festival?

The Northern California Homebrewers Festival is by and for, homebrewers and their guests. To purchase tickets you must be a member of an AHA registered homebrew club. This festival is not open to the general public.

How do I buy tickets to the festival?

All sales are done via our online store. This will go active on a specific date, shown on the home page of this site. In addition, if you are subscribed to our email list you will receive a reminder, as well as periodic emails with important information.

How many tickets can I purchase?

Club members may purchase up to two (2) tickets including themselves. We have two tiers of tickets: General Festival Attendee, and Camping Only. Camping Only are for non-drinking folks and minors. We have a limited number of these CO tickets available.

What's a Club Representative, and how do we sign up a Club Rep?

Club Reps are a member of every homebrew club, that act as our conduit to the homebrew clubs. They assist us in verification of membership, and help us communicate with clubs. We have a Club Rep Signup form to register one member of each club as a representative.

How do I register my club for booth space?

Send us an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your club name. We will put you on a list so we can plan for all the clubs that want a booth space. As the festival grows, we may have to get more formal about this process.

How are club booths assigned a location?

We are starting to assign locations for booths. We have designated "anchor clubs" to certain spaces on the festival grounds, such as those that sponsor the Raffle or Registration booths, and a few others that actively support the running of the festival. Booth spaces will be chalked out on the grass for clarity. All booth spaces will be assigned to a club. We will attempt to align clubs next to each other that have a preference. This is a new process for us, so bear with us in the growing pains!

What's provided for our club booth?

We provide clubs with approximately 10' x 10' of space on the festival grounds. You can expand "backwards" out your booth, but we keep the front edges along the same line. We also supply one 8' banquet table, one 4-gang electrical drop, and some bags of ice for your beer.

What about ICE for beer?

We make ice available for all clubs. We allocate 1 bag for every 3 registered members of your club. We will have an "ice-monitor" dispensing 20# bags of ice to clubs on Saturday morning after the club rep meeting which starts at 9:30AM. Extra bags of ice are generally available after we do the first round of distribution.

Generally, the ice in your jockey box does the bulk of the work chilling the beer. Grouping your kegs into an insulated container only requires 1-2 bags for 4 kegs. It takes longer for a large cold object to warm than a bunch of small ones, and a large thermal mass stays cold longer than a bunch of separate small ones.

Lake Francis also has ice for sale.

Can we drive on the grass to set up the booth?

NO! No vehicles are allowed on the grass field. There are areas along the perimeter road to park and unload your vehicles. Everything must be hauled. However, Lake Francis does have "Mules", golf-cart vehicles, to haul heavy items across the grass. The staff at Lake Francis is very helpful, all you need to do is ask nicely. Your fellow home brewers are also usually willing to lend a hand, too!

When can we set up our club booth?

While the main festival green doesn't open until Saturday morning at 11AM, many clubs arrive mid-day Friday to set up their camp sites and build their booths. As long as you are done in time for Hoppy Hour Friday evening...!

What should we bring for the club booth?

What you bring is up to you, but the most important element? Quality Beer! All attendees receive a taster glass upon admission to the festival grounds. In addition to beer, you need to provide all the hardware required to serve your beer, such as CO2, taps, jockey box/cold box or a place to keep the beer cold (limited ice provided).

Additional items you should provide:

  • Food to serve (helps absorb all the alcohol) If you've never been to NCHF, bring appetizers/snack foods to feed about 20-30 people. The variety of food provided by clubs ranges from simple bagged snacks to gourmet near-meals. It’s up to each club to decide how over-the-top to be. This is a guideline to help you plan.
  • Water, water, and more water – keep hydrated!
  • Chairs for sitting (its a long day to stand the whole time)
  • Booth decorations or other club/beer paraphernalia. Part of the fun of the festival is the creativity clubs bring in decorating their booths to reflect the festival theme!
  • A basic First Aid kit is suggested

What about booth competitions?

In addition to beer tasting and the Club Keg Competition, there are two other club "competitions". First is the "Best Themed Booth", and second is "Best Booth Food". These are open to all attending clubs. There is a ballot available to all attendees on which to vote for your favorite. Exact rules are posted in the center fest grounds by the keg club competition board.

How should I pack for myself?

This is camping in the Sierra Foothills. Aside from your campsite needs, for your own persons keep it simple. Bring clothes to fit the variable weather common to the Sierra Foothills. It can be low 90º's in the peak of the day, and drop into the high 40º's at night. We've had rain (the day before), and very chilly nights too, so pack appropriately.

Typically, shorts and T's during the day, a sweatshirt for the early evening, and jackets and/or sweaters for the evening. Think layers!

end faq

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NCHF Contact Information


Snail Mail: NCHF
271 Santa Clara Ave
Redwood City CA 94061

The NCHF is a 501 C(7) non-profit organization.

NCHF Weather

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