There are festivals where you leave and feel like you missed out on special tappings or super-secret pours and then there is the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest where you could miss more than ¾ of the beers (like I did) and still feel like you tasted some of the best and rarest beers in the world.
Now, I could give you a laundry list of superlatives about this event but as I have heard when people get too long winded when “talking” about beer, “I’m here for the beer”.
Firestone Walker brought a cavalcade of breweries from around the world to Paso Robles last weekend. And this is what I sampled:
Three Floyds Barrel Aged Dark Lord
Surly Brewing Schadenfreude
Southern Tier Schizophrenia
Cigar City Brandy Barrel aged Hunahpu Imperial Stout
Alpine Brewing’s Keene Idea
Avery Brewing’s 20th Anniversary
Kern River Citra
Odell Tree Shaker Peach IPA
Bell’s Raspberry Wild One
Boulevard Brewing Test Nelson Grape
Firestone-Mikkeller Lil Mikkel
Birrificio Italiano Tipopils
Nebraska Cardinal Pale
Now if that list of beers doesn’t turn your head, my following Top 3 will make it spin around “Exorcist” style:
3. Revolution Brewing / Firestone Walker Dos Osos collaboration IPA
2. Boneyard Brewing Nefarious Double IPA
1. New Belgium Peach Whiskey barrel aged Prickly Passion saison
Your Beer of the Week is one that I did not try at the event. Because we in Los Angeles are lucky enough to have Beachwood BBQ and Brewing in our own backyard. Amalgamator IPA is a tough one to spell but easy to taste as brewmaster Julian Shrago shows his deft touch with hops (yet again). Check out the weekly L.A. Beer Blast and when you see it on a tap list. Run and get it.
And let’s talk more about Beachwood Brewing. They will be releasing another bottle! Still Life, a Smoked Double Stout will be available on June 7. Still Life is brewed with golden naked oats, which contribute to the smooth creamy feel. And to add to the news of the Still Life release, “Beachwood will be hosting an art show curated by Tim Shelton of Still Life Tattoo” (yes, the beer was brewed for the tattoo shop). The show, featuring the work of local artists, will be held at the downtown Long Beach brewpub on June 7 at 6pm. “This collaboration marries Beachwood’s creative spirit with Still Life’s artistry,” explains Shelton. “We are both extremely dedicated to our craft.”
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.