Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest 2013...

Discussion in 'Pacific' started by Devi0us, Nov 17, 2012.

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  1. rails

    rails Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2012 California

    Made me feel like a midwest whale hunter out there in the extremes.
  2. thome50

    thome50 Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2006 California

    I too felt that year two was just as good as year one. I really appreciated the little things that could have been easily overlooked such as the added easy ups in the queue area in Frontier Town and the added shade structures in the music area. The swamp coolers and misters also were a HUGE help. With the exception of the area where Alpine/Golden Road/Ballast Point were, there seemed to be just enough shade and misters/coolers.

    The only thing I noticed that was kind of lame was the swarm of people when the Bruery would release one of their special beers on the hour. Having the separate line was good in theory but with no way of patrolling it there was rampant line cutting. Seeing this, and wasting probably 30 min in line, was enough to make me not bother with anything in that area for the rest of the afternoon.

    I found it funny that this year there was, again, a large group of locals that hung around the booth giving out the regular Firestone Walker offerings. Branch out a little guys! :slight_smile:
    MastaShonuf likes this.
  3. HaveUSeenMyCellar

    HaveUSeenMyCellar Savant (1,210) Aug 30, 2012 California

    Nooooooooooooooo....not the BCBS Vanilla. ;-)
  4. Rau71

    Rau71 Initiate (0) Dec 12, 2011 California

    I thought the event was once again awesome. I didn't get any of the "special" pours and still feel like this was a much better event than last year. Nefarious and the Brandy Huna were my top new to me beers, and of course Citra was fantastic as always.
  5. Earlycsquid

    Earlycsquid Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2013 California

    I think I went back for Citra at least 4-5 times. That stuff was probably the best drink for the day as it fit in perfectly in refreshing you.

    Not knocking BA DL or Brandy Huna, or even that amazing System of a stout - But perhaps those heavy gravity beers weren't the best to be drinking on such a hot day. Still glad i tried them. But man did that Citra just hit the spot.

    I also was a bit disappointed with the Bruery. It seemed like those on-the-hour bottle pours only had one or two bottles being poured of it. Compared to the lines that formed for them. I was shut out of two of them while still being under the shade of the area. Perhaps more bottles were needed as it didn't make much of a dent in the lines that tried getting them.

    The event was amazing in itself. Well organized. Def. want to go back next year.
  6. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    That's funny, I'm the exact opposite. I thought that Brady Hunahpu was alarmingly mediocre given the hype (and I use that word pointedly) around it. It's not even close to in the same league as Apple Brandy (and that was the 2nd beer I had, so it's not like my palate was jacked). BADL, on the other hand, was one of my top few beers of the day. Keene Idea was the clear #1 though, it's really too bad that it's not a regular in their rotation.

    I'm in agreement, our bottleshare the night before was way better than the fest beer, which was actually sort of disappointing to me from a taste perspective, I had relatively few standouts and A LOT of 3-3.5 level beers. It was still worth it and I had fun, but I was a bit surprised by that.

    As for logistics and stuff, it is pretty well run, the best festival I've been to by a large margin in that regard. But what the fuck is with leaving the water stations out in the sun? Yeah, 100-degree water is super refreshing. I lucked into getting some water off of a just-replaced tank once, but the rest of the time was using the breweries' water, which was shaded.

    Also, I'd like it if more of the food was finger-food. I know they gave you the tray, but I don't really want to be carrying that thing around all day. As far as I could tell there were like 3 places serving things you could just eat with your hands, and 2 of them had waits that looked longer than the BADL line. They need a few more places doing sliders/sandwiches/pizza. They also need to put who's serving what on the map, just having the names of places without what they served was pretty useless.
  7. redmagik99

    redmagik99 Initiate (0) May 15, 2007 California

    Beachwood BBQ Amalgamator
    Alpine Hoppy B Day
    Kern JO IPA (maybe it was the weather but actually preferred it to Citra)
    BA speedway with no line at the end
    Dude getting kicked out of bottleshare for not wearing a shirt, friend defends him by citing his homebrewing prowess

    Low points:
    BA Dark Lord
    BA Indra Kunindra
    Beer and food running out
    Everyone getting kicked out of the pool at Best Western
    An unfortunately short trip to the local "casino"

    All in all a great day.
    jethrodium and Psyko like this.
  8. MssrTussaud

    MssrTussaud Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2013 California

    This was a pretty fun fest. It was my first time attending.

    - Very well organized entrance system. We barely waited 20 min to get in the front doors.
    - Beers started pouring at 1 pm, giving us a little time to figure out where to go.
    - The waiting area was shaded. I would have passed out from the heat otherwise.
    - There were more than enough breweries to keep me happy.
    - The misters were a fantastic touch.
    - The plates had a slot to hold the snifter while eating. Brilliant!
    - Despite the criticism for Surly, I was really happy to have two tasty, low-gravity beers to sip in the sweltering heat. I don't want Darkness on a hot California summer day. But Coffee Bender would have been nice.
    - People were ridiculously friendly.
    - Hot Buttered Rum was awesome.
    - Someone pinched my ass.*

    - The event officially ran till 6, but it was not clearly stated that beers would stop pouring at 5 pm, though I was aware of it via word-of-mouth.
    - They stopped refilling water and providing food at 5 pm as well -- why? Let people sober up.
    - The water was in sunny areas and often became grossly warm.
    - Three Floyds definitely phoned it in. Dreadnaught, typically awesome, tasted like an old keg. BA Dark Lord apparently kicked in 20 minutes, then reappeared later and kicked "again" in 20 minutes. Did they bring a 5 gal keg and split it into two pouring sessions? Dumb. The line for their booth wasn't worse than Bruery or Cigar City, so I don't believe they served the same volume of beer. BA Hunahpu's lasted for hours (but it was also terrible).
    - The food lines were often longer than the beer lines. I should have gotten in line for food first, then beer -- but I was worried some of the rare stuff would kick fast.
    - *It was a dude.
  9. jmgrub

    jmgrub Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2010 California

    Great observations. I couldn't agree more with respect to the brandy Huna. Having already tried BA Dark Lord in the past, I made a bee-line for Cigar City where I received at max a 1.5 oz pour. I honestly wouldn't have wanted much more because I felt like it was pretty mediocre. My second beer of the day, ST Schizophrenia, was much more enjoyable for me. Oh well, different strokes and hype is a weird animal.

    I ended getting some of the BA Dark Lord later in the day, which I found much more enjoyable than the brandy Huna, though I'm sure my palate was a bit tired at that point.

    As to your logistics comments, I agree that the event was very well-run. I felt they did a really good job about combating heat related problems. At the same time, having the fest this time of year creates all sorts of logistical nightmares related to the heat that simply wouldn't exist if the event was a different time of year or indoors. The fest was extremely enjoyable as is, but would be significantly more enjoyable if it were a 70 or 75 degree day in April or early May as opposed to the beginning of June. I'm not really sure if there is anything they can do to ameliorate the weather issue (which really is an issue when people are paying big bucks to sample high gravity beers), but it would be great if there was.

    I am also in complete agreement about listing food menu items on the pamphlet and providing more finger foods. As a vegetarian, walking around to food booth after food booth hoping for a vegetarian option was a little frustrating-would have been nice to know who had what just so I could have been a little more directed in my food search. I do think it's nice that they try to be environmentally friendly by providing the tray to use all day, but having the tray in one hand and the glass in the other hand didn't leave a whole lot of freedom to do much of else (yes, yes I know that you can put the glass in the tray, but I was too nervous about dropping the glass to do so).

    All in all, these are minor gripes about what was otherwise a phenomenal event. It didn't unseat FoBAB as my all-time favorite beer event, but that's a horse of a whole different color, to quote from Rookie of the Year.
    Retsinis likes this.
  10. ericandanna2005

    ericandanna2005 Initiate (0) Jun 3, 2013 California

    I have to say that it was a great festival with the exception of 3 Floyds. Great way to show respect to those that helped your brand grow and out after 40 minutes of a 5 hour event. I hope that the beer advocate community thanks you back in the same fashion as I boycotting your products altogether! Great job to Cigar City for fantastic brew and bringing enough to share with the people who paid $80 to get in! Dark Lord Boooooo!
    rails likes this.
  11. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    Another thing that I just thought of, why on earth was the list of breweries next to the map not in alphabetical order? It made finding anything a total PITA. I get that they wanted some kind of order to the booths, but other than each line being in order it really wasn't that helpful. They need to switch that next year, list in alphabetical order, numbers all over the place.

    I'd also really like it if the book were taller and if there were a couple pages that just listed the beers. Flipping through 20 pages of breweries isn't that easy. CBC in Copenhagen had bigger pages and smaller print and that worked much better for actually using to navigate and guide drinking decisions.

    Again, these are small things, but if FWI wants to be the best beerfest in the world (and it seems like they do) then they need to get this right.
  12. Commanche

    Commanche Initiate (0) May 8, 2008 California

    Friday night Bottleshare @ Adelaide Inn was unreal. Thanks Dave!
  13. Earlycsquid

    Earlycsquid Initiate (0) Jan 7, 2013 California

    I liked the size of the booklet. People were already tossing the plate because it was too bulky. The small size of the booklet was perfect to fit in your back pocket as you already had to hold on to your glass in one hand. why would you want a bigger booklet?
  14. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    To be able to see all the breweries/beers on a couple pages. I completely missed Green Flash's offerings just because I somehow kept skipping that page. If there were a master list that wouldn't have happened. I really can't be the only one who'd appreciate an overview of the offerings in addition to all the gory details.

    And I don't think it needs to be much bigger, I could find the one from CBC to get dimensions (I think I still have it) but it was plenty big enough to get everything onto a couple pages while still fitting easily in my pocket.
    Xul likes this.
  15. Psyko

    Psyko Initiate (0) Jan 6, 2011 California

    Won't be staying at the Best Western again... "Go put you beer outside on the grass" Weak!

  16. thome50

    thome50 Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2006 California

    Troll much? I really don't think 3 Floyds needs this festival to grow brand awareness in a region it doesn't come close to distributing to. The fact that they show up with extremely rare beer that lasts for 40 minutes is a huge testament to how much they respect the beer nerd community. That is really the ONLY community this event is catered to considering FW doesn't promote this event to the local community for the most part.
    Carbon14 likes this.
  17. sandiego67

    sandiego67 Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2008 California

    Next year, everyone needs to wear a nametag with their BA name on it.
  18. DovaliHops

    DovaliHops Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2009 California

    My fiance and I both agreed it was the best beer event we had ever been too. She went and grabbed us food while I grabbed us beer. It was great! I will proudly admit that I never waited in a line for over 10 minutes, and still got to try everything that I wanted to...other than BA Dark Lord and Keene Idea. I loved Silva, Raspberry Wild One, Southern Tier Chokolat variant, Pinot barrel Lagunitas stout, BA Huna, BA Maple stout from Sierra, and Mango Habanero Ruination. Citra was good as usual. Was awesome to taste Wanderer and Grey Monday again. Sipping on unlimited Hoppy Birthday and BA Speedway with no line toward the end was AWESOME! Met some great people. Thanks to those who drank Fou Foune with me at Adalaide pool before the event and for sharing Hammerhead! Amazing time!
  19. Instapint

    Instapint Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2008 California

    This sounds alarmingly similar to my experience with my wife...although better yet, she was much more interested in the food than the beer after too long, and I wound up double-fisting. More for me. :slight_smile:
  20. xraided81

    xraided81 Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2008 California

    Was it just me or did the evening shift front desk clerk look like the treyvon Martin killer?
  21. pumptrick

    pumptrick Initiate (0) Oct 26, 2010 California

    Great event, Great event. Too much criticism here.
    I had a great time meeting evreyone and second the name tag idea
    Bottleshare was outstanding.
    Favorite was psyzo or wild one rasp.

    Cheers and give me back my growler (lol)
  22. CenCalMario

    CenCalMario Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2009 California

    Great event... thought the misters and cool zone fans were great. I took every opportunity to mist my head and neck. Really helped.

    I wish the water was cold, or like others said, hide the bottles in shade instead of in the direct rays of the sun. I felt the increase in the number of people... hope that is the cap for them.

    The Bruery made that area a cluster... I tried two of the offerings just because I was there really, if you're in the RS you could just keep on trucking. Wanderer was a nice one to revisit everyone so often. Last year that shed area was a place to go and hide from the sun a bit, this year it was a mad house.

    Not a big fan of the CC Hunahpu... preferred the BADL over it, quite easily actually.

    I thought the sneaky great beer of the day was the Toronado & Pizza Port collaboration "High Fives," which wasn't in the booklet but poured in the afternoon. Happily drank more than my fair share of it.

    I liked drinking PP Dusk Til Dawn next to SN's Maple Stout...that was a nice double combo to try out. Both great beers.

    Hoppy Birthday and Keene Idea... maybe the best.... no, it was the best 1-2 combo of the day. Contrary to others, I preferred HB (I know, kill me now).

    Beer in can: Heal the Bay was tasty... surprised me.

    Bell's - Wild One Raspberry, nice beer that I killed a bunch of before the day ended.

    Friday night I went to a sick bottle share at a beautiful house on top of a hill overlooking a Paso winery.... wales upon wales, upon wales.... and even after pulling my own plug and tying to get home in one piece there was still a $hit ton of more wales to be put down. Much debauchery.... one of those shares where a bottle of Armand 4 Oude Geuze Zomer just lies around half full because a 5 yr vertical (02,06,07,08,09 --- 06 ftw btw) of LP Kriek is going on, or someone is making the next best greatest Chocolate Rain French press coffee concoction up... or because a never before seen/heard of (at least to me) bottle of Armand "Donovan" just pops up for random tasting! Thanks to Westcoastbeerlvr, Arbitrator and Largadeer (I've seen a lot of double fisting in my day, but never 4-5 fisting with beers tucked in armpits, truly skilled... like Bobby Fisher playing 20 games at once... master taco maker too, skillz x skillz) and all the other guys (whom I lack their BA names) for the truly over and above awesome hospitality. Can't wait to do it again, but next time I'll probably just couch crash and stay until we all drop, haha.

    Saturday night, after the festival, I fell asleep on the hotel bed, buzzed and sun beaten... I later awoke to find that I had a 2nd rush of liver capacity, however, was not in shape to drive so didn't head back up to the bottle share house... we joined a small bottle share at Adelaide in the little park/resting area and it grew like wild fire... Lots of bottles flowing, tried maybe 15-20 beers I hadn't had before.... later they moved us to the pool area to continue. The security guard made a better librarian with all his "shushing" ever 20 mins... Lot of generosity by all in attendance, lots of great beers. Stumbled back to my hotel room and knocked out.

    I'm sure I'm missing a ton of stuff, but hell, can't type forever.... Looking forward to next year.
  23. MastaShonuf

    MastaShonuf Initiate (0) Jan 21, 2013 California

    My brother in law told me to get tickets and I would not be disappointed and he was right. My wife, who drinks but does not necessarily appreciate, had her eyes opened to so many very good beers. Helps provide an excuse to keep my trading up.

    Great things / idea:
    Misters and the Swamp Coolers helped tremendously throughout the entire place except where there was direct sunlight by the nasty paella next to the Scuplin Habenero. I felt bad that Alpine was swallowed up in this mess.

    Evo water-I brought in a camelpack and filled it. The water got warm quick....but Evo water was cold and available the entire time.

    Cover during the wait inside to open...brilliant. Get our ids checked, glasses handed out, and put us at the ready. Would have appreciated the swamp cooler fans blowing in there though. The Merch Shop had A/C though.

    Beers: Southern Tier thank you again for the special barrels of Schizophrenia. Kern definitely had the best 1-2 punch. Boneyard was the biggest surprise and quite enjoyed the DIPA.

    Bad things / ideas:
    I was lucky to figure out FW kept pouring until 6pm inside the fort. So, Stone and Pizza Port did the same. It got damn hot in there though with all the people concentrated in a smaller area

    Booths were so squished together that sometimes you had to look several times to figure out which line was for which brewery.

    Bruery is on my bad list. Special lines good idea. Telling me there were 150 pours of Gray Monday and seeing it go dry after about 50...not cool. Just pick one next time and bring extra.

    FFF - I had DL so I avoided the extremely long line. Only positive, it let me get to others quicker.

    Mix in smaller known with bigger known. Cigar City and Southern Tier next to each other was crazy.

    Beer - Surly was my biggest disappointment hands down.

    Start time would have been better around 1130 - 1200. The length of time was perfect but getting in a little earlier would have been great.

    All in all, I am already waiting for tickets to go on sale next year. It was one hell of an event. It was also great seeing most of the owner and/or brewers of the beers we were tasting. The crowd was very friendly and there were few people who got college drunk. The few passed out in the grass were quickly escorted away or usher to other areas...gotta love that. If that was you, remember next time that there is no prize for drinking every last offering and full glasses of each of them.
    flexabull likes this.
  24. sandiego67

    sandiego67 Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2008 California

    Great event.

    We capped it off Sunday by visiting the FW Barrelworks in Buellton at noon on the drive home. Got lucky and did a quick private tour of the Wild Ale Barrel Program with David Walker and the Japanese brewers from Yo Ho. We sampled several of the beers that ran dry on Saturday.
  25. OakedCanuck

    OakedCanuck Initiate (0) Jun 23, 2009 Washington

    Best beer fest I've ever been to. Swamp coolers and misters were awesome.

    Keene Idea, Boneyard nefarious, Hop Ninja were the highlights.

    Bottle share on Friday night was amazing, really generous BAs out there and the wife and I appreciate everyone's hospitality.

    Boo on the Best Western for having such strict swimming pool regulations....

    Shout outs to Lobo (great to finally meet ya), Stu, Steve, anotherJoe, Beerdy, Russ and of course, Two-shirt Kurt.

    See y'all next year.
    afrokaze, biglobo8971 and schwartzoid like this.
  26. flexabull

    flexabull Initiate (0) Mar 9, 2006 California

    What type of beer was this? Or did you mean to type Notorious?
  27. MssrTussaud

    MssrTussaud Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2013 California

    It was a DIPA. Notorious is a different beer. I thought the same thing.
    flexabull likes this.
  28. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    "Think hoppy, not bitter. Brewed with six lbs per barrel of Simcoeand Mosaic, no doubt its all about the hops. This beer has never been brewed before and should not disappoint."

    --It did not disappoint. Great stuff. 10%abv, 75 ibu, 10.5 srm
    flexabull likes this.
  29. OakedCanuck

    OakedCanuck Initiate (0) Jun 23, 2009 Washington

    Nefarious = DIPA
    Notorious = Triple IPA

    Thanks MssrT

    Edit: Shit was amazing BTW :slight_smile:
    1424IpA, MastaShonuf and flexabull like this.
  30. flexabull

    flexabull Initiate (0) Mar 9, 2006 California

    Thanks, I know about Notorious. (Loved it) Didn't know they had a beer called Nefarious though.
  31. AptosBeerDrinker

    AptosBeerDrinker Initiate (0) Aug 9, 2011 California

    I think it's either brand new or was a one off for the festival. It was damn good.
    1424IpA likes this.
  32. StarRaptor

    StarRaptor Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2010 California

    This thread is doing a great job of summing up everything that I currently feel is wrong with "beer culture". If a brewery decides not to bring an under attenuated barrel aged stout they are the biggest let down of the fest. Personally Surly was one of the highlights for me and I'm glad to have actually had a rare beer that I'd never had from them.
  33. Beerandraiderfan

    Beerandraiderfan Initiate (0) Apr 14, 2009 Nevada

    Surly didn't have to bring a barrel aged stout. . .

    They could have brought Coffee Bender, Moe's Bender, Furious, Abrasive, Overrated IPA etc (i.e. popular beers) and they would have caught less flak.

    I think Darkness is meh, while Bitter Brewer is good, and I was still disappointed.
  34. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    I really wanted to like bitter brewer because I love bitters and wish more breweries made them, but it just tasted like a watered-down IPA to me.

    On the other hand, Tartare may have been the best beer there. I forgot about that earlier when I said it was Keene Idea. I'm kind of mad I forgot about CCB's Berliner and never tried it. The world needs more berliner.
    afrokaze likes this.
  35. Xul

    Xul Pooh-Bah (2,065) May 18, 2008 California
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Did they actually pour it? I hit them up first thing (to try Brandy Huna before it got crazy), then went back later, and the only beers I saw from them were Brandy Huna and Inversion Pale. Was the Berliner a special mid-fest pour? Or was it a rumored beer that just never materialized?
  36. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    Oh, could be that it never poured, I was just going off rumor, I guess. I never went through that line, looked like a horrorshow.
  37. grilledsquid

    grilledsquid Initiate (0) Jul 10, 2009 California

    I get what you're trying to say, but I don't think it really applies in this instance. Let's acknowledge that the the pour list for the event overall was tremendous. I showed it to a friend of mine and his response was something to the effect of "wow it'll take a week to get through all of that!" With so many great beers to be sampled in a relatively short amount of time, it wouldn't have been practical to approach the event with a truly care-free attitude. It was necessary to create a short list. Beers didn't need to be barrel aged stouts to get on mine--just unique and interesting. If there was ever a time to bring something memorable to the table, it was this festival.
  38. rails

    rails Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2012 California

    the line was 5 deep most of the day at Cigar City while it was 30 min wait across at RR. People had to get that pliny

    got 5 pours of Brandy HU so good

    no Berliner was poured that I saw
  39. stupac2

    stupac2 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    Weird, every time I walked by the line at CCB looked enormous. Maybe it was a place next door. And yeah, RR's giant line was sort of mysterious, but I suppose it prevented a line somewhere else.
  40. Xul

    Xul Pooh-Bah (2,065) May 18, 2008 California
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Did RR pour anything besides Pliny, Temptation, and the 9L of Supplication? It would've been cool to get a pour off the 9L, and Pliny and Temptation are both old favorites, but that line seemed oddly long for most of the fest considering a lot of the people at the fest are in RR's distribution footprint.
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