Scareventures’ Halloween events have evaded us for years because of the timing and distance. We knew their work only from their mini-haunt inside the Hall of Shadows at Midsummer Scream, which was very good and inspired us to eventually make a trip down to see the full version.
Fortunately, with scheduling changes and the odds shifting in our favor, we were able to make the journey to San Diego county this year to enjoy what turned out to be a gem of an experience.
Fright Nights at AleSmith Brewing 2022 Review: Experience
First off, we are calling this an “experience” as opposed to a “maze” even though there is a long walk-through. Here is a detailed account of our experience; apparently, no two are alike.
First we were led into a private tasting room where we learned the theme – which had not been revealed on their official site. In a way, it was good to enter with an open mind and simply accept what was to come. Inside the tasting room, we met a bartender who asked if we were here to explore the Zien Family Farm and uncover the secret ingredient to their refreshingly-sweet Halloween beer “Evil Dead Red.” The bartender warned that if we proceeded, we might get more than what we bargained for, but we’re not the type to back down. So, as the bartender poured some liquid courage, he revealed that this brew was made with duck testicles. Yummy!
Next, the bartender’s nephew Gerald took us from the brewery’s shipping docks to the edge of the family farm, on a dimly lit path with hues of red, where actors snuck up on us and inflicted a few jump scares while we were distracted by Gerald’s monologue, like a brewery worker who slammed down a keg. According to Gerald, we would meet people like the Brew Master, Ma and Pa, and the Butcher and it sounded like we might be invited to the party. Now here’s a plot twist: the reason he was nice enough to walk us to the farm was because he gets a cookie from them, a cookie with “red” stuff in it. Turns out, the bartender and Gerald had an ulterior motive. Next thing you know, we were to brave the rest of the way ourselves, walking into a “red harvest”.
The Brew Master popped out and invited us to try his special “poison.” The flavor, “Lime Berry Twist Sour,” didn’t sound too poisonous unless that’s what the “twist” was. He then sent us to the Butcher and had us turn around to see what happened to the last guy – who was reduced to a skeleton. As we continued through the docks, we were met with a couple of jump scares and then finally the Butcher, who had a woman captive, saying this would happen to us if we tried to steal the recipe. The butcher was nice enough to let us continue through the fields where we encountered many lost wandering souls before we eventually reaching Ma and Pa Zien’s house and the family farm.
Ma Zien, who had a pig nose fused on her face, greeted us at the door and asked our business. When we said we wanted to sample the family recipe, Ma was disappointed – she had hoped we were there to fix the TV – but she invited us inside. Since we could not fix the TV, we had to re-enact classic TV shows in order for us to gain passage. We then met with Ma and Pa Zien’s son, who did some improv and offered us more alcohol, the seasonal “Oktoberfest” blend, before letting us through a spider cavern to the barn. At the barn, we were met with the son’s daughter who was seeking a new husband and targeted one of us.
Inside the barn, we were haunted by a single scare actor, who seemed to be everywhere we turned but always out of sight. We then made our way to the stables and then the wheat field where we had to slowly walk past a guy in a bunny mask chopping up meat. After watching a scarecrow come to life, we somehow made it out alive after a very buzzworthy ending.
Fright Nights at AleSmith Brewing 2022 Review: Conclusion
Located fully inside AleSmith Brewing Company, Fright Nights takes up most of the brewery’s real estate without affecting day-to-day operations, since it is technically in the warehouse with its own entrance. We have visited many haunts, and we can honestly say we have never experienced anything like this. Scareventures has found a way to offer top-tier props and sets, interactive theatrical elements, a good storyline and a lengthy walk-through mixed with three beer tasting experiences.
Though there are many great actors, the lady playing Ma Zien easily steals the show. Not wearing age makeup, she is actually an older cast member who poured 1,000% into her role. We actually did a second walkthrough almost immediately after our initial go, in order to confirm whether the actors were really doing improv, and indeed they were. A few stuck to the script, but a good number of them tailored their performance to the audience in front of them. Creatively, this really is the year when the little guys are taking on the big boys and making them look small.
Hollywood Gothique's rating of Fright Nights at AleSmith Brewing
1 – Avoid
2 – Not All Bad
3 – Recommended
4 – Highly Recommended
5 – Must See
An interactive haunt that combines a cleverly written story line paired with beer tasting; this near 20 minute experience was as refreshing as the ales they were serving. This simple but non-simple walk-through has a bit of an old school feel mixed with hard working actors ready to do some improv at any moment’s notice. This is a must-see no matter where you are. Too chicken to go in? You can always hang out in the beer garden or the brewery itself; you’re bound to see a scare actor here and there.
Fright Nights at AleSmith continues on selected nights until October 30th. Tickets start at $25 for the walk-through with no beer tastings, for the beer tasting experience it’s an additional $10. Their daytime/non-scare event Trick-or-Treat Trail at AleSmith BOOery from 2pm to 6pm on October 29th & 30th. For more information, visit: www.scareventures.com.
*Note: The author of this post is a close acquaintance of the creator(s) of this haunt. However, this review is still written from a haunt-goers perspective and from a purely objective point of view.
Fright Nights at AleSmith Brewing 2022 Review: Photo Gallery