Sunday, June 17, 2012

Epic Beer Weekend...the Main Event, Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest

Gorgeous summer day for beer!
Arriving in Paso Robles Friday afternoon, we were looking forward to partaking in some bottle shares with friends, but the super comfy bed at the Adelaide Inn was far too welcoming.  This made getting up bright and early on Saturday for the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest that much easier.  Waking up early without a hangover on the day of a beer event is always a bonus!  After a quick carb-filled breakfast, we headed over to the Paso Robles Fair Grounds which were a short walk from our hotel.  A nice crowd had already started to line up just outside the gates before noon, with the even set to begin at 1 p.m..  We were rewarded by standing next to a bbq smoker which smelled amazing.  About thirty minutes prior to the even start time, we were ushered inside to get wrist bands and pick up our tasting glasses.  We were surprised to also receive a plate, which had a cut-out for our tasting glasses, a small booklet with information about all of the breweries and beer that was scheduled to be poured at the event along with a handy dandy small golf pencil.  The sun was bright and making it's presence known as we eagerly awaited our time to enter the fest.  The Paso Robles Fair Grounds are not your run of the mill fair grounds.  They reminded me of both Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland with quaint old-fashioned buildings.

When the clock struck one, a majority of the people lined up hustled over to the 3 Floyds to have a chance to taste Dark Lord.  Instead of following the crowd, we chose to visit Sun King Brewing first which had no line.  While they had two beers on tap, they also had brought some of their cans of beer so they had a nice variety to choose from.  I started my day out with their Osiris Pale Ale which was both tasty and refreshing.  We ran into some friends who luckily are smart and had already grabbed a barrel to claim as our home base for the day.  This was an excellent system as one of us (actually, one for most of the day, she deserves a medal) would stay behind while the others ventured out to get  samples of all of the glorious beer.  Walking throughout the different tents and tables was relaxing as most of the lines moved quickly.  
Quick moving lines at beer events always makes for happy beer drinkers!  

Mellow, happy crowd
While I sampled many delightful beers throughout the day, I definitely had some favorites.  Gatlin Damnosous by Anderson Valley Brewing Company was the first beer of the day that made my heart happy.  A Sour Ale at 8.8% it was not only unique but had a fantastic taste.  The longest line I waited in all day was for my second favorite beer of the day, Stone Brewing Company's Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA.  The wait to try their hoppy 10.8 % Imperial/Double IPA was definitely worth it, even though it is a beer I can easily find here in Southern California.  Altered Beast by Bear Republic Brewing Company not only has a name that makes you want to try the beer but also has an outstanding taste.  At 9.2%, this Imperial/Double IPA was another one that I would definitely like to try again.  My final favorite beer of the day, was Nebraska Brewing Company's Melange A Trois (Reserve Series, Chardonnay Barrel Aged) Belgain Strong Pale Ale.  This 10% beer was a nice surprise and makes me want to drive out to Nebraska for a visit to their brewery.
Not only were all of the beer selections at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest top notch, the food we all had to choose from was also amazingly delicious.  From wood-fired pizza, pulled pork bbq sliders, to bratwurst sausage sandwiches, there was something for everyone to enjoy.  I was surprised to see some of the food booths were still serving food up until the end!

The Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest was a wonderfully well-organized event.  I know I am already counting down the days until next years event!

No comments:

Post a Comment