“Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.” – Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
In May of 2014 Dave and Steve attended one of the greatest beer events in the world: the Firestone Walker Invitational in Paso Robles California. Here are some thoughts and images.
We’ve never been to the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado, never been to Illinois’ Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers, nor any of the Beer Advocate festivals in Boston, nor Savor. Even so, could any festival be a greater venue for the world’s finest beers than the Firestone Walker Invitational? Paso Robles is returning to form as wine country, boasting 2013’s award for Wine Region of the Year. The food vendors, who get short shrift at a beer event but play a critical role—especially to a collective swarm of snobs—not only in keeping people satiated and buffered from unlimited samples of draught deliciousness, but as a compliment to the beers. Food must be up to the quality of the beer or the contrast will define both the food and overall experience as muddled. And the food served at the Invitation is superb. Local restaurants like Robert’s, Estrella, Fish Gaucho, Leo Leo Gelato and more brought top notch California cuisine in bite sized portions. And then there is the beer.
Brewpublic.com has the full list here
BEER OF THE FEST:
Avery Brewing Co.
This sour ale from Colorado’s Avery makes great use of the tropical lilikoi fruit to add both sweetness and a further tartness, making for one of our all-time favorite sour beers. Against redoubtable company on draught, Lilikoi Kepolo stood above the rest, as the most complex and delicious beer we sampled .
Barrel Aged Vietnamese Speedway Stout
Alpine Beer Co
Black Tuesday w/ Pistachio & Vanilla
Cigar City Brewing
Tangerine-Orange Berliner Weisse
Firestone Walker Brewing
Kern River Brewing
Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Co
New Belgium Brewing
Taps Fishhouse & Brewery
Blanche de Conundrum
The variety and quality of brewers and beers, the food and facility, and the overall execution make this one of the best beer festivals in the country. People in the area are blessed to have Firestone Walker, and especially lucky to have such a great festival to craft beer. If you ever have the opportunity, get to Paso and check out the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival.