Beer festivals, like music festivals, are on the rise. New ones are cropping up every single year, all over the world. Most of them are meant to showcase a wide variety of beer ranging from the tasteless macrobrews to the tasteful microbrews and everything in between. Usually it seems, when reading about other events, that most attendees at most festivals partake in drinking as much beer as possible. The idea of tasting, just tasting, unobtainable beer isn’t always the primary focus. When Firestone Walker announced their Invitational Beer Festival a few months back, I realized the focus had been realigned with the craft beer movement. With big name craft brewers like Firestone Walker, Stone, and Sierra Nevada, and cult craft brewers like Three Floyds and Mikkeller leading the way at the newly announced beer festival, macrobreweries no longer held the spotlight… and in fact had lost it years ago.
Well, the moment we were all waiting for came and went as quickly as the event sold out. The inaugural year of Firestone Walker’s Invitational Beer Festival passed us by incredibly fast but left us at mAltIntel with only the fondest of memories and the most delicious aftertastes. Each one of the 40 breweries brought along 2 different types of beer; one, a sessionable beer (under 6% ABV, though we did see some 7′s) and the other, a rare beer. While we weren’t able to make it to every brewery, we hit as many as we could and made the best possible judgements on which ones we had to miss out on. Most of our staff, and even a guest writer, was able to attend the festival and most of them brought back with them tasting notes on their favorite beers and breweries. Compiled here is a detailed account of just some of the beer tasted, because even though we were there to cover the festival, it was incredibly hard to get any kind of work done!
– Matthew Rhodes
Head on over to page 2 for more coverage of the festival!