Like the food options at Coachella, the drink offerings have vastly improved. Makes sense considering we drinkers can be just as picky as foodies. Macro beer and one spirit/one mixer drinks don’t cut it. So this marks the second year for the beloved Craft Beer Barn as well as the 213 Hospitality bars in the Rose Garden. Even Coachella’s caterers, Best Beverage Catering, brought in craft cocktails. With so many drinking options now, I’ve whittled it down to what you should definitely be drinking, besides gallons of water of course.
By the way, hot tip: if you want to avoid the scrum at the “Check ID” booths, hit up the ones away from the Craft Beer Barn and Heineken House, like between the Coachella Stage and Outdoor Theatre or behind the Corporate Headquarters art installation. The “Check ID” booths in Main VIP and the Rose Garden are also pretty stress-free.
1. Lewis & Clark Brewing Co.’s Tumbleweed IPA at the Craft Beer Barn
This year, the Craft Beer Barn was bigger and better with more space, in part thanks to the Yuma stage being moved, which made the area feel less jammed. But there were also a couple of additional breweries, and restaurants like 800 Degrees and Beer Belly were moved across from the barn instead of crammed alongside it in the corner. The fact that this was a WiFi hotspot and that charging stations were built into the pillars of the barn made this the ideal spot for many a connected festival-goer. Although there were many excellent brews on tap, the Tumbleweed IPA from Lewis & Clark Brewing Co. took the edge off a hot day. Refreshing and flavorful with some pine and citrus, it was perfect for cutting the richness of Beer Belly’s maple-bacon grilled cheese sandwich and Top Round’s roast beef sandwich.
2. Mixi’s Xanadu draft cocktail
We experienced firsthand why draft cocktails are the way to go at a huge high-volume event like Coachella. They’re a well-balanced sure thing. And the Xanadu cocktail (Avion silver tequila, pineapple, ginger, lime, and sage), created by Shane “Mixi” McKnight of Best Beverage Catering, was such a treat after a long, hot day. It was a welcome cocktail at The Workshop’s Outstanding in the Field dinner. I personally couldn’t get enough and even asked for seconds during the dinner.
3. Sex on the Beach Odder Pop at The Church Key in Main VIP
Do not miss out on these booze popsicles by bartender Devon Espinosa at The Church Key booth if you’re in Main VIP. He’s also serving up a Fruit Punch variety but, come on, Sex on the Beach (vodka, cranberry, peach puree) is fun and not crazy sweet. And not only do you get to see the Odder Pop get a liquid nitrogen bath, but you also get this treat that’s cool with a bit of a kick to keep the good feelings going. By the way, to prevent a sticky mess, have a cup handy so you can pour the melted popsicle in it.
4. Catena Malbec during Outstanding in the Field’s The Workshop Dinner
You’ve already heard this everywhere, but the Outstanding in the Field dinners really are not to be missed. If you love food and music, this will be your heaven: sitting down to a multi-course meal by top chefs with the energy of the Sahara stage in the background. Something so surreal and cool about that mix of a white-tablecloth dinner and deep house music. Add to that each course being paired with wine and, well, everything is awesome. The Catena Malbec from Argentina was the last wine of the Workshop Kitchen + Bar dinner by chef Michael Beckman. The Malbec was paired with a 48-hour braised lamb shoulder, red winter wheat cavatelli, pea shoots, and shawarma jus. Such a rich wine that stood up to the savoriness of the meaty dish.
5. Alexander Valley Vineyards Dry Rosé of Sangiovese at Rosé All Day (Behind Craft Beer Barn)
Dude. There’s a booth at Coachella that serves rosé wine. All. Day. And what’s crazy is that since it’s tucked in the back of the Craft Beer Barn area, past the food booths and on the other side of a fence, not many people know about it. It’s not even listed on the festival map. So if you LOVE rosé as much as I do, this is the spot. They have several wines to choose from, but the Alexander Valley Vineyards Dry Rosé of Sangiovese, which points maniac Robert Parker called “one of the finest I have tasted from California,” is the light-bodied, crisp sipper you crave on a sultry evening.