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
This past weekend was nothing short of amazing in the craft beer world as Shelton Brothers, importers and distributors of small batch beers and ciders from all over the world, brought The Festival 2014 to the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. The Festival 2014 took place over the course of four sessions split up over Saturday and Sunday afternoon. There were literally beers from all four corners of the world with close to 100 breweries represented and probably close to 400 different brews to choose from. Someone commented to me that it would be impossible to try all the offerings in one session. The fact of the matter is that it would be impossible to try everything there over the course of the four sessions.
The Saturday sessions were very well attended, but with all the amazing brews available there were only two booths that even had a line, 3 Fonteinen and Cantillon; by Sunday even they had no lines. It is not very often that you can go to a beer festival and have no lines for Beachwood, Firestone or The Bruery. I understand that San Diego Beer Week started on the same weekend, but if you drove to San Diego instead of staying in LA I am afraid you blew it. The selection of beer at The Festival would be pretty tough to beat anywhere.
Like many of you, when I go to a beer festival I like to try beers I have not had an opportunity to try before; at The Festival 2014 I was able to try numerous beers from breweries I had never heard of. Of course, there were plenty of breweries I had heard of, just never experienced and I did my best to make up for that. Continue reading
Presented by Shelton Brothers and Sharefest in collaboration with Brouwerij West at CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, The Festival 2014 will be bringing you craft beer from all four corners of the globe with almost 100 breweries being represented. Not only are there more than 90 breweries in attendance, you will have the opportunity to meet more than 70 of the best beer, cider, and mead makers in the world!
If you think this is an exaggeration, take a look at the breweries scheduled to attend. International breweries include 8 Wired (New Zealand), Amager Bryghus (Denmark), Au Baron (France), Baird (Japan), Be.Er Brewery (Belgium), Birra Toccalmatto (Italy), Blaugies (Belgium), Brasserie Dunham (Quebec, Canada), Brekeriet (Sweden), Brew By Numbers (England), Brewfist (Italy), Burning Sky (England), Nøgne Ø (Norway), Oersoep (Netherlands), Oliver’s Cider and Perry (United Kingdom), Partizan (England), Pays Flamand (France), Peckham’s Cider (New Zealand), Rappi Bier Factory (Switzerland), Ribela (Spain). Ritterguts (Germany), Rooie Dop (The Netherlands), Shiga Kogen (Japan) and many more.
Just so you do not think that the American breweries have been left out, you will also find such breweries as AEppelTreow Winery (Wisconsin), Arizona Wilderness (Arizona), Cambridge Brewing Company (Massachusetts), Celestial Meads (MA), Crooked Stave (Colorado), Hair of the Dog (Oregon) Jolly Pumpkin (Michigan), Mystic Brewery (Massachusetts), Oxbow Brewing (Maine), Prairie Artisan Ales (Oklahoma), Pretty Things (Massachusetts) and Saint Somewhere (Florida) will also be pouring. California craft breweries Bagby Beer, Beachwood BBQ, Bottle Logic, Brouwerij West, Cellarmaker, Faction, Firestone Walker, Monkish, Rare Barrel, San Pedro Brewing Company, Tahoe Mountain, Telegraph and The Bruery will also be among those in attendance. Continue reading