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5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Photos: FWIBF16

These photos are from the 5th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF16) which was held this past Saturday afternoon at the Paso Robles Event Center and featured about 50 breweries and 200 craft beers from around the world as well as foods from 33 local area restaurants.

The Firestone Invitational is one of, if not the best run craft beer events I have ever attended. I remember attending last year’s Invitational and being quite surprised to learn that it was only the fourth one as it was run so smoothly; from ensuring ticketed attendees were in the gates and ready to go by the time the event officially started, to making sure water was readily available no matter where you happened to be in the venue. If I did not know better, I would have guessed that they had to be doing it for 10 years instead of four.

Since this was my second opportunity to attend the Firestone Walker Invitational, I used my experience from last year to make this year’s event even more fun. Continue reading

Photos from the 4th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival

These photos are from Saturday at the 4th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF15) which was held at the Paso Robles Event Center. The festival included craft beer of 53 breweries from all over the United States, Europe and beyond. This was my first opportunity to attend and I did not attend as any type of “official media” so my experience was probably similar to that of any other first time attendee; except I probably waited in line longer to get in. On Friday night I had heard stories of lines just to get in reaching down the street and around the block, so I walked over to the event center and was there before 9:00 AM. If you are taking notes, the event did not start until noon and there was nothing to be gained by being among the first 20 to be there. If you get there at noon you will be fine.

To be honest, I was not aware that this was only the fourth Invitational and it is definitely run like they have been doing it a lot longer. I had the opportunity to speak with individuals that had attended multiple times before and the one thing that became obvious is that Firestone Walker listened to the feedback they received after each event. For example, in the beginning, attendees had to buy food and water. As the event evolved it now has free food from 26 restaurants and multiple free water stations with enough filtered water to hydrate the 3,000 plus attendees. Now, I have to say, I am not really sure how many tickets were sold but between comments I heard, articles I read and a personal guess, I would guess between 3,000 and 4,000. The thing is, the location can hold a lot more than that and when you divide them between 80 booths there was not much in the way of lines. Naturally, there were some breweries like Three Floyds and Alchemist that had long lines all day; and when breweries like Beachwood or The Bruery had their special pours people started waiting; but most of the lines that I experienced moved rather quickly. Continue reading

Photos of The Bruery’s 6th Anniversary – Sucréversary

On Saturday afternoon, members of The Bruery’s Reserve and Hoarders Society and their guests gathered at The Phoenix Club in Anaheim to join The Bruery and many of the best local craft breweries to celebrate The Bruery’s Sucréversary, or 6th Anniversary. The proceeds from the event were to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana.

Since this was a private event I was a little surprised at how many attendees there were; this beer festival easily rivaled any of the local beer festivals I have attended in recent memory both in the number of people attending and the breweries represented. I got there a little early and even though they were not yet pouring beers, there were four very long lines as The Bruery had scattered three booths and a beer truck around the venue and their fans took advantage of the beer map to get in line for their favorite Bruery offering. To say there was a lot to choose from would be a definite understatement as The Bruery brought such ales as their Griffon Bruxellois, Oui Oui, Premiere, Batch #50, Confession, Sucré – Tawny Port, Grey Monday, Hottenroth, ORB, Grey Monday and many others. They even brought out some special beers such as Three Floyd’s 2013 Dark Lord.

Joining in the celebration were guest breweries Almanac Beer Company, Ballast Point, Beachwood Brewing, Bootleggers, Bottle Logic, Cismontane, Eagle Rock, Firestone Walker, Golden Road, Hangar 24, Kern River Brewing, King Harbor, Lost Abbey, Modern Times, Monkish, Noble Ale Works, Pizza Port – San Clemente, Smog City, Societe, St. Archer, Stone Brewing Co., TAPS, The Rare Barrel, Tustin Brewing and Valiant Brewing. The price of admission included a lunch catered by Beachwood BBQ; Chunk-n-Chip Cookies provided dessert. Continue reading

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