And there was still a line out the door.
The annual event, which lasted from 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday in the Rose Ballroom at John Ascuaga's Nugget, seemed to have as many people already inside as were still working their way through the line to get in and start sampling brew.
Lucky enough to have gotten in before the evening rush, John Frugoli was already making his rounds to different beer distributors.
“I go every year,” Frugoli said. “I’ve been coming for five years now. I’m all for Sierra Arts but I’m here for the beer.”
Frugoli admitted that he liked any kind of beer event but the Brew Haha was special because of the number of booths and the number of beers on tap.
Sprinkled among the larger brewers, such as New Belgium and Gordon Biersch, were locals Great Basin Brewery and Silver Peak.
“It’s very relaxed and there’s a lot of freedom,” said Scott Baxter, a waiter for the Great Basin Brewery who was volunteering his time to work at the Brew Haha. “An event like this gets our name out there, gets the people used to what we serve and keeps them coming back.”
Baxter said that Great Basin brought two beers to the Brew Haha that are seasonal and not currently on tap but that the “Bitchin’ Berry” was a crowd favorite. Seasonal beers keep people checking in at Great Basin to see what’s new, he added.
“I think from Oregon to Southern California there are a lot of breweries,” Baxter said. “Sparks and Reno appreciate beer. Here you get to taste a lot of beers and have a good time.”
And the crowd was having a good time. As Shane Dwight and his band played into the night people danced and talked with friends new and old. Couples sampled beers together; groups of friends laughed around the tables and distributors kept flinging suds.
“Shane Dwight is able to pull people in,” said Keith Rugg, public relations manager for Sierra Arts. Rugg said he enjoys Dwight’s music and the crowd seemed to, as well.
For Sierra Arts, the Brew Haha fund-raiser was filling a bigger role than expected. With the Hollywood writers' strike still in full swing, the Sierra Arts chose to cancel its “Art and Oscars” dinner this year, making the Brew Haha the organization's main fund-raiser for the spring.
“We hope the Brew Haha gives people an increased awareness for Sierra Arts,” Rugg said.
Rugg added that the Lucky No. 13 Brew Haha was running smoothly and was better organized than last year. And the distributors agreed.
Steve Buffun, sales manager for Loce and Son, said he was happy that the Brew Haha seemed better organized. Buffun’s said his company donates its products and time for the Brew Haha. His booth was one that offered Mike’s Hard Lemonade as well as imported Carlsberg beer from Denmark.
“The Brew Haha is a good opportunity to try a lot of beers,” Buffun said. “It’s a good price and it’s for a good cause.”
If you missed the Brew Haha, you missed out.
“They missed a great party,” Rugg said. “Shane Dwight always sells out.”
For more information on Sierra Arts and future events, visit www.sierra-arts.org.