Firestone-Walker Invitational (the recap)


As threatened here is my recap of the Firestone-Walker Invitational that was held on Saturday……

With a beer stained shirt, I left the 2013 Firestone-Walker Invitational Beer Festival dizzy from the variety of beers and breweries on display and maybe the triple digit heat too.

The Mid-State Fairgrounds was hopping with crowds attracted by an impressive worldwide brewery list with beers that are rare within miles of their home breweries, let alone seen in California. Dark Lord from Indiana’s Three Floyds or Hunaphu from Peoples Choice winning brewery, Cigar City from Florida.

Both highly rated beers and both excellent but in my opinion, three others made my Best in Show List (plus an honorable mention in Tipo Pils from Birrificio Italiano).

#3 – Dos Osos IPA from Revolution Brewing. A collaborative hop bomb between the 3 year old Chicago brewery and Firestone-Walker. Was super fresh with a great bouquet.

#2 – Nefarious DIPA from Boneyard Brewing. For a big DIPA this (again very fresh) Double was light and nimble.

# 1 – Prickly Passion Saison aged in Peach Whiskey barrels from the venerable New Belgium. My first beer of the day and one that struck a chord that I measured all the rest of the days beers on. Had a bright fruit note that balanced with a smooth and light barrel flavor.

OK, on to my beer festival check list:
water: plentiful (they also had cool zone blowers and misters at most stations to keep things cool)

food: plentiful (and free with admission) I certainly enjoyed the cupcakes but you could really do some great beer pairings.

crowds: There were long lines but that was to be expected. You could easily move about the fairgrounds and if one line was too long another fantastic brewery was close by.

Considering the heat and the massive beer geek popularity of the beers on hand this was well-run and smooth operation. (Which was not a surprise to me)

This will be an annual pilgrimage for me.

Sean Suggests for April 2013


Since April in Los Angeles is a bit hotter than in most of the country, I have selected three beers with a little less ABV oomph to them than usual.  And all three will be good NBA playoffs choices.


Widmer Columbia Common 4.7% abv

“The Columbia Hop was near extinction when we brought it back to create this crisp, easy drinking common ale. With a rich amber hue, Columbia Common, the new Spring Seasonal Release for 2013, has a Mild grassy and spicy hop notes are complemented by a fruity character and clean finish brought on by the use of hefeweizen and lager yeasts and unique malt bill. It’s the perfect beer for Spring.”


Strand 24th Street Pale 6.1 % abv

“This is what we had intended to brew when we made Genesis. Serving as our flagship ale, 24th Street Pale contains exactly the same hops but is less malty than Genesis which leads to less masking of the hop profile. It’s a smooth little Pale with a bitter finish. Slightly floral, slightly fruity. It is dry and drinks quickly. ”


New Belgium Hoppy Bock 6.9 % abv

“Meet the first in our new Hop Kitchen series: A German-style springtime lager brewed with rye then loaded with Hallertauer, Perle and Fuggle hops for a spicy, earthy aroma. This Hoppy Bock Lager offers a medium body and slightly sweet malt character perfect for your spring hop-fling.”