Firestone Walker Invitational – Photos

Back home from the FWIBF19 and here are a few photos that I posted to the ‘gram or Facebook or are seeing the light only here.

Me at the photo shop.
Re:Find at the Friday night BBQ
Just a few of the Firestone beers one could find.
As usual, great food to pair with the beers like these tacos from Los Robles Cafe
Two of my favorite 2019 beers in this photo.
The Line-Up from Fonta Flora
The 2019 Collaboration with Cigar City

Firestone Walker Invitational – Day 1

The trip to Bountiful was a little different this year as I had a co-pilot, my wife and a new place to spend the weekend out in the vineyard. Here is the Day 1 report from Paso Robles the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest

The initial media meet-up at the main brewery off the 101 was cool. Got to meet Takeout beer writer Kate Bernot which was a check mark on my list of people to network with followed with cans of lager and the new Luponic which was straight up coconut that former Propagator brewer Evan Partridge said was from the Sabro hops.

The Friday BBQ was great as usual. Simple sandwich, salad and beans. I had two Propagator beers. Three Thumbs Up the Highland Park, Green Cheek Firestone threesome IPA. Welcome to LA hoppy lager was really good too. The highlight was that Re:Find distillery was pouring samples. Got to try their Rye and a cocktail as well.

Outside the fest, I made stops at Silva Brewing which was packed and hopping. Also had a tasting at Field Recordings wines. Great space design in Their Tin City digs.

Time to leakage for the Fest

In the Tap Lines for June 2019

header_attractionsJune is a busy beer month for me.  Firestone Walker and a trip to Paso Robles at the beginning and then the LA Beer Week takes over in the 3rd Week.  Expect lots of coverage of both.

~ e-visits to three breweries from England like Affinity Brew Co., Boxcar, Anspach and Hobday
~ special featured reviews of Paso Robles beverages
~ Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.

Here are two events to get your June started in the Los Angeles craft beer world:
1) June 1st – King Harbor Brewing 5th Anniversary
2) June 11th – Beer – Cheese – Chocolate at Eagle Rock Brewery Public House

FWIBF Brewery # 1 – Balter Brewing Company

Our first Firestone Walker Invitational brewery featured is Australian, Balter Brewing Company. There origin story is summed up as ” 6 Aussies and a Yank walk into a bar and never come out… “

The little smiley face on the logo will be on display for the beers that I might see at their booth, such as….

XPA – ” It might be pale but there’s nothing weak about this bad boy. This XPA’s tropical and floral aromatics set off a fruity palette that will punch your taste buds in the pleasure zone. Tailored for those who enjoy a fully-hopped beer that’s still easy to drink.”

Strong Pale Ale – ” Wrestle your thirst to the mat, with this Strong Pale Ale. Its smooth malt profile drips with juicy hop notes, and a snappy bitterness that finishes with a firm hand. Flex your flavour muscles and crack open the door to a little bit more.”

Captain Sensible – ” This ale balances refined malt undertones against vivacious hop notes to round out a full taste and mouthfeel that defies its mid-strength nature. Perfect for those who like to keep a lid on it, but still want to crack the top off a couple.”

IIPA – ” A noble beer for a noble thirst, this Imperial IPA is like a tangy fruit salad with extra punch. Clean, hefty hop notes provide substantial palate weight with hints of pineapple, pine and citrus, while the higher alcohol content delivers a delightfully dry, spicy finish. In a tall tin so you can share it with a mate celebrating a royal achievement, or simply soaking up the last shadows of a classic day. “

Gone in 60 Seconds

Entitlement. Some think that they deserve to go to the Firestone Walker Invitational Festival. Each year, I hope that this year, on sale day will not end up with someone on social media whingeing about not getting tickets and within hours, that is stomped on like Paso Robles grapes at harvest time.

The reason that this festival succeeds like it does is due to the amount of tickets sold. More tickets sold would make hotels more costly, lines longer, tapped kegs more frequent and create a heat vortex that would rival the Sahara in summer.

The beer certainly helps create buzz but as FW notes in their post above, there are a great many great festivals out there, many cheaper and closer to wherever YOU are.

This is not to discourage people from going. Far from it. If there was a way to rotate tickets to first timers that would work without being hacked, I would recommend it. I would highly suggest visiting Paso Robles anytime in the year and even on THE weekend if you don’t have tickets. There is plenty of beer and fun to be had at Silva Brewing alone.

I include myself when I say that no one deserves to go, they are LUCKY to go. And if you think that you deserve it and you find yourself there, I would also highly suggest recalibrating and at least pretend to be lucky because then, the FWIBF truly becomes wonderful.

#FWIBF18 – The Breweries

Firestone Walker chose April Fool’s Day to announce their brewery line-up for their 2018 Invitational Beer Fest and SURPRISE!, the list is great…

For those lucky enough to snare tickets to this sought after event, here are my recommendations of booths to visit….

Fonta Flora was my favorite last year and got a lot of positive press, so hit them up early. New this year are Jack’s Abby from the East Coast and there beers will be perfect for the summer sun of Paso Robles.

WeldWerks had a hella’ long line at the Beer Advocate fest so I would head to another newcomer, Oxbow instead.

The foreign tent has some big names. Thornbridge being the one that I would run to. (Oh how I love to watch the beer snobs run) Also hit Beavertown and Garage Project before their lines grow.

Lastly The Rare Barrel and Sante Adairius should be on your must visit list for at least one beer.

#FWIBF16 photos

Back from Paso for a day now and I have plucked my favorite shots from the whirlwind weekend trip north for #FWIBF16.

This year's tasting glass + ticket to STiVO!
This year’s tasting glass + ticket to STiVO!
The Bruery Terreux's Jurassic Gose
The Bruery Terreux’s Jurassic Gose

Drone shot of Intinction from Russian River.
Drone shot of Intinction from Russian River.

The crazy art for Beavertown Brewery.
The crazy art for Beavertown Brewery.

Must Unite the Damsels!
Must Unite the Damsels!

Happy FW Invitational Day – STiVO

Could this be a pilsner whale? Well, if STiVO Keller Pils a collaborative beer from Russian River owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo and Firestone Walker’s Brewmaster Matt Brynildson isn’t, then I can’t imagine what could be.
STiVO Keller Pils was brewed for this year’s Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest on June 4. Perusing the list that Firestone Walker made public, it is one of many pilsners that will be offered which is fantastic considering that it might be another hot day.

According to Brynildson, the STiVO recipes were already pretty close, “Our water philosophies and malt profiles were already essentially the same, and our yeast strains were pretty similar, so it really came down to how we wanted to handle the hops, and the overall weight of the beer we wanted to make.”

The beer will be hop split between Pivo’s German Saphir hops and STS’s Alsatian Aramis hops. Plus it “was racked to kegs unfiltered and will be presented in the classic keller style, naturally carbonated and slightly hazy.”

FWIBF15 – Brewery # 2 – Beavertown Brewery

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The brewers at Beavertown Brewery have a design look that is a crazed mix of 3 Floyds and Half Acre. But they must be doing something right to catch the attention of Firestone Walker and get an invite to come to Paso Robles.

So here is what I would taste from this brewery:

I would start with Smog Rocket…

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…then move on to Gamma Ray Pale Ale…

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…before finishing with…

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