Firestone Walker Invitational – Day 2

Onto the good stuff, my 2nd day recap of the 2019 Invitational. There was a breeze in the air as I made my final approach into the festival. I always walk around the Mid-State Fairgrounds around the same time to gauge how many people line up a full two hours before they are allowed in. This year seemed lighter in General Admission line and larger in the one hour wait VIP line.

The booths had been changed up a bit. FW keeps people guessing so that muscle memory doesn’t move people to the same spots each year. I will touch on the favorites poured this year in another post but I want to talk about the two panels hosted by the Brewing Network. First was cocktail beers. If there is anything that will bust up the hard seltzer train it will be this area and though Boulevard Brewing brought an actual canned cocktail which I passed on because nothing could reach the heights of last nights Re:Find offerings, I found the Corpse Reviver #2 from Gigantic Brewing to be really good. Burial Beer brought a beer called Amaro from their Visual line and this digestif meets beer was great as well.

The sour panel held a couple surprises too. Crooked Stave had a twelve-ounce can of Sour Rose. Not super sour but boy did it smell and taste like Rosewater, and it was fantastic. Rare Barrel poured Cyboogie which was also canned and also fantastic though calling it sour IPA was a stretch. That panel ended with a table beer from Side Project whose line was long all day and has been since they first came to the festival.

More coverage and photos to follow.

Ladyface Invitiational – Recap

Last weekend, I trundled up to Agoura Hills to check out the Ladyface Invitational for 2017….

What a difference a day makes. Saturday was bright an chilly with a blue sky above. On Sunday, as I drove up the 101 to Ladyface, it was grey and rainy and you could barely see ahead of you.

The whole party was forced inside due to the rain which changed the dynamics a bit but I gotta say that Cyrena and crew improvised well. Tucking tables into the brewery and adding signage to help the fest goers navigate in tight quarters.

The beer list was quite the different beast from other festivals that I have been at. It was quite stout heavy and sour heavy. If you were looking for hops, you had two full throated IPA’s but past that, old ales, sour stouts and saisons were in force.

I quite liked the anniversary beer, The Shepherdess. It was strong but not warming. Good solid beer with some spice hints. Perfect for a rainy day. Other standouts were the Saison Bernice from Sante Adairius and the return of The Messenger from Three Weavers and Noble Ale Works.

My only quibble is the amount of pours allowed. The wristband allowed for 20. On a rainy day no less. 10 pours tops though I prefer 5 personally. It forces you to slow down and enjoy more rather than racing from beer to beer. And there was plenty of good beer to choose from. Beer that is normally sold in larger format bottles for over $20.00. Much better to try a small amount and see if it blows you away.

Next year, let’s hope the rains waits until Monday to come down.