Posts Tagged ‘Firkin’

The vernal equinox arrives this weekend, meaning that the weather will start to warm up, and the daily daylight will start to extend, providing even greater incentive to get out there and explore the world. Events around town occur regularly, and most people understand the basics of most of these events, such as 5k runs, art shows, or beer fests. But what happens when a traditional event comes up with a spin? Enter FirkFest, a beer festival celebrating the wonders of cask ales. Traditional beer fests see breweries or home brewers bringing in their brews to sample to the large crowd of attendees over a short period of time. This Saturday at Farmers Park in Anaheim, FirkFest will do that same thing, except the participating breweries will bring only casks to this party. A unique fest of its kind, cask ales rarely get this type of exposure, largely due to the portability of it. As a result, only cask ales from west coast breweries can survive the trip here.

Aside from the drinks featured here, FirkFest operates largely like most other beer festivals. Admission to this festival costs $55, and includes unlimited beer tastings from all the participating breweries from noon to 3:45pm, plus free parking. Around this small area, other activities include live music and some recreational games, like bocce ball, beanbag toss, hula hoops, Jenga, and more. Towards the entrance, guests can purchase food from any of the available food vendors. The majority of the beers’ alcohol percentage range from six to eight percent, with a few going above or below that. As this event takes place mostly outdoors, make sure you prepare to spend all that time under the sun, so dress for warm weather, and have sunscreen applied just in case. Attendees can find plenty of free parking in the nearby neighborhoods, or can park in a structure adjacent to City Hall for free that day.

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With Spring now underway, the weather starts to warm up, and the daily daylight starts to extend, providing even greater incentive to get out there and explore the world. Events around town occur regularly, and most people understand the basics of most of these events, such as 5k runs, art shows, or beer fests. But what happens when a traditional event comes up with a spin? Enter Firkfest, a beer festival celebrating the wonders of cask ales. Traditional beer fests see breweries or home brewers bringing in their brews to sample to the large crowd of attendees over a short period of time. This past Saturday at Farmers Park in Anaheim, Firkfest did that same thing, except the participating breweries brought only casks to this party. A one-of-a-kind festival, cask ales rarely get this type of exposure, largely due to the portability of it. As a result, only cask ales from breweries on the west coast could survive the trip here. Aside from the drinks featured here, Firkfest operated largely like most other beer festivals. Admission to this festival cost $55, and included unlimited beer tastings from all the participating breweries from noon to 3:45pm, plus free parking. Around this small area, other activities included live music and some recreational games, like bocce ball, cornhole, Jenga, and more. For the majority of the beers, the alcohol percentage ranged from six to eight percent, with a few going above or below that. I managed to try something from every brewery since none of the breweries held any timed releases like some have in the past – all attendees could receive any beer right from the start.

Now in its third year, Firkfest has solidified itself as one of the staple Orange County beer festivals for craft beer fans to attend. Last year, the organizers also incorporated a chili cookoff into the event, allowing local businesses to enter their best rendition of chili to a contest, while also allowing attendees to sample the chili. This year, they appear to have ditched that idea, intending to focus solely on the brews at hand. As a persistent problem since their first year, the staff clearly could have handled the entrance line a lot better. The front gate volunteers did not start checking tickets and handing out wristbands until 12pm on the dot, losing valuable time for the attendees way at the back of the line. To mitigate this issue, they could have ran two lines: one line to check in & receive a wristband, and another line for the express entrance with just showing the wristband. As a notable experience, the attendance remained below average for a beer fest. 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. The venue worked out great for the wide space, and the weather made it even better. With nothing outstanding to complain about, I foresee Firkfest standing strong for many years.

The vernal equinox arrives this weekend, meaning that the weather will start to warm up, and the daily daylight will start to extend, providing even greater incentive to get out there and explore the world. Events around town occur regularly, and most people understand the basics of most of these events, such as 5k runs, art shows, or beer fests. But what happens when a traditional event comes up with a spin? Enter FirkFest, a beer festival celebrating the wonders of cask ales. Traditional beer fests see breweries or home brewers bringing in their brews to sample to the large crowd of attendees over a short period of time. This Saturday at Farmers Park in Anaheim, FirkFest will do that same thing, except the participating breweries will bring only casks to this party. A unique fest of its kind, cask ales rarely get this type of exposure, largely due to the portability of it. As a result, only cask ales from west coast breweries can survive the trip here.

Aside from the drinks featured here, FirkFest operates largely like most other beer festivals. Admission to this festival costs $55*, and includes unlimited beer tastings from all the participating breweries from noon to 3:45pm, plus free parking. Around this small area, other activities include live music and some recreational games, like bocce ball, beanbag toss, hula hoops, Jenga, and more. Towards the entrance, guests can purchase food from any of the available food vendors. The majority of the beers’ alcohol percentage range from six to eight percent, with a few going above or below that.

* = Use promo code boozeblog to receive $5 off admission

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.

This Saturday marks the arrival of Spring, meaning the weather will start to warm up, and the daily daylight will start to extend, providing even greater incentive to get out there and explore the world. Events around town occur regularly, and most people understand the basics of most of these events, such as 5k runs, art shows, or beer fests. But what happens when a traditional event comes up with a spin? Enter FirkFest, a beer festival celebrating the wonders of cask ales. Traditional beer fests see breweries or home brewers bringing in their brews to sample to the large crowd of attendees over a short period of time. This Saturday at Farmers Park in Anaheim, FirkFest will do that same thing, except the participating breweries will bring only casks to this party. A unique fest of its kind, cask ales rarely get this type of exposure, largely due to the portability of it. As a result, only cask ales from breweries in California can survive the trip here.

Aside from the drinks featured here, FirkFest operates largely like most other beer festivals. Admission to this festival costs $50, and includes unlimited beer tastings from all the participating breweries from noon to 3:45pm, plus free parking. Around this small area, other activities include live music and some recreational games, like bocce ball, beanbag toss, hula hoops, Jenga, and more. Towards the entrance, guests can purchase food from any of the available food vendors. The majority of the beers’ alcohol percentage range from six to eight percent, with a few going above or below that.

UPDATE: This festival has SOLD OUT. You may encounter after-market tickets at this point though, but I do not condone that method of acquiring tickets.

With Spring now underway, the weather starts to warm up, and the daily daylight starts to extend, providing even greater incentive to get out there and explore the world. Events around town occur regularly, and most people understand the basics of most of these events, such as 5k runs, art shows, or beer fests. But what happens when a traditional event comes up with a spin? Enter Firkfest, a beer festival celebrating the wonders of cask ales. Traditional beer fests see breweries or home brewers bringing in their brews to sample to the large crowd of attendees over a short period of time. This past Saturday at Farmers Park in Anaheim, Firkfest did that same thing, except the participating breweries brought only casks to this party. A first fest of its kind, cask ales rarely get this type of exposure, largely due to the portability of it. As a result, only cask ales from breweries in California could survive the trip here.

Aside from the drinks featured here, Firkfest operated largely like most other beer festivals. Admission to this festival cost $50, and included unlimited beer tastings from all the participating breweries from noon to 3:45pm, plus free parking. Around this small area, other activities included live music and some recreational games, like bocce ball, beanbag toss, hula hoops, Jenga, and more. Towards the entrance, guests could purchase food from any of the four available food vendors: Adya, Wheat And Sons, The Kroft, and The Iron Press.

A grand total of 31 breweries attended to serve drinks to all the attendees: Valiant Brewing, Tustin Brewery, Twisted Manzanita Ales, Strand Brewing, Smog City Brewing, Saint Archer Brewing, Phantom Ales, Pizza Port, Noble Ale Works, Karl Strauss Brewing, Monkish Brewing, Los Angeles Ale Works, Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Bravery Brewing, Hangar 24 Brewery, Haven Brewing, Firestone Walker, Golden Road Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewery, El Segundo Brewing, Coachella Valley Brewing, Dale Bros Brewery, Cismontane Brewing, Bottle Logic Brewing, Bootlegger’s Brewery, The Bruery, Belching Beaver Brewery, Ballast Point Brewing, Beachwood Brewing, and Anaheim Brewery. Non-alcoholic drink providers included Portola Coffee Lab and Los Angeles Ale Works with their craft sodas.

For the majority of the beers, the alcohol percentage ranged from six to eight percent, with a few going above or below that. I managed to try something from every brewery, opting out of any spicy beers or sour ales. Only Bottle Logic hosted a timed release with their Leche Molé, garnering a huge line that surpassed the porta potty lines. Even Noble Ale Works did not time a release for Man’s Milk, a derivative of their popular Naughty Sauce – they had it available since the start. Aside from Leche Molé, no other brewery had a crowd of attendees waiting for beer.

For its first run, Firkfest largely concluded as a positive experience, but not sans a few criticisms. The staff clearly could have handled the entrance line a lot better. The front gate volunteers did not start checking tickets and handing out wristbands until 12pm on the dot, losing valuable time for the attendees way at the back of the line. To mitigate this issue, they could have ran two lines: one line to check in & receive a wristband, and another line for the express entrance with just showing the wristband. As for another issue, this fest only boasted five porta potties, which had a continuous line of attendees the entire time. As we all know, renting those things cost a fortune, so finding the balance of the right amount of them will keep attendees happy without having to overspend.

Other than those fixable issues, Firkfest did everything else right in the books. As a notable experience, the attendance remained below average for a beer fest. 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. The venue worked out great for the wide space, and the weather made it even better. Should Firkfest return next year, we hope they take things up to a new level, keep the attendance rate similar, and resolve the lines issues.