We Fin-Nagel’d Our Beer At The 2nd Annual FirkFest Cask Beer Festival & Chili Cookoff

Posted: March 24, 2015 in Beer, Events, Food, Orange County
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With Spring having officially started last Friday, businesses leave behind the slowed months of January and February behind to pave the way for increased volume moving into the summer months. What better way to kick off the new season exists than with a nice cold one? Enter the 2nd Annual FirkFest Cask Beer Festival & Chili Cookoff, a event that celebrates Southern California’s booming craft beer industry and up-and-coming restauranteurs in the Orange County area. Unlike many other beer tasting events out there, FirkFest sets itself apart from the rest by featuring only cask ales, a feat that virtually no one else has accomplished, or accomplished first for that matter. Due to the nature of cask ales, all of the brews available at FirkFest only existed for that day – no one will find any of the brews anywhere else ever again. Over 25 Southern Californian microbreweries appeared to serve their one-of-a-kind brews, while 12 different chefs & restauranteurs vied for the best chili of the fest.

Every attendee could eat as many chili samples as they could until it ran out. Some of the chefs brought vegan chili, while a few concocted something that more resembled a stew than a chili. Alternating between beer tastings and chili samples helped attendees reduce the intoxicating effects of the beer.

Any successful beer festival cannot operate without the people. FirkFest organizer Greg Nagel followed up with a successful first run last year with this improved event. By including food in the price of admission, Mr. Nagel upgraded this event while keeping the main operations intact. From the field games to the lively music that got people dancing, all of the attendees never wanted the day to end.

Just look at the joy expressed on their faces!

And now for the curve ball – these guys. Local craft beer enthusiasts know these guys very well for their great contributions to the SoCal craft beer industry. They decided to leave a lasting impact with these flamboyant outfits.

Just like last year, the attendance remained below average for a beer fest, albeit this event sold out a few days prior. Some of the larger beer festivals have you standing shoulder to shoulder with other people, waiting in long lines for generic beer that may even include macro beers like Shock Top. Those “drunk fests” do not emphasize the quality of the beer – they focus on quantity and getting people as drunk as the next person. FirkFest got the quality beers for a fest with a manageable attendance, keeping things slightly more intimate and allowing greater interactions with the attendees and the representatives from the breweries. The organizers also resolved parking by allowing guests to park for free in a parking structure that normally would not allow so many people to park in for so long. At this rate of improvement, we can expect great things for next year’s FirkFest.

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