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.