Looking Back at the 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest

Bells Brewery The Oarsman at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest

With more and more beer festivals joining the beer circuit every year it’s an uphill battle to make each festival unique and appealing. Across the country there are a few that have met this challenge and have strong notoriety and consistently push the envelope. One such fest is the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. Held each year in the brewery’s hometown of Paso Robles, California this is one of the hottest beer festivals in the country. Tickets sell out within minutes and the beer offerings put forth are simply amazing.

This past weekend Firestone Walker Brewing hosted its 4th Annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest (FWIBF). After attending this well organized festival for the past two years it’s difficult to imagine a better quality beer festival in all of the United States. It is definitely up there with the annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers held in Chicago, Illinois along with the granddaddy of them all, the Great American Beer Festival held in Denver, Colorado.

What sets the FWIBF apart from the others is that the festival was truly designed for both the craft beer fan and craft brewer in mind. The brainchild of famed Firestone Walker Brewmaster, Matt Brynildson, he surely knows how to bring in the cream of the crop in all of craft beer.

Matt Brynildson on stage at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Matt Brynildson on stage at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest

“The Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest was born from a dream of creating a world-class festival featuring not only the best brewers in the world, but brewers whom we feel are leaders in the craft beer revolution,” says Brynildson. “This is a day where we can all put down our sales and marketing pitches and simply commune and share our beers and stories with people who are truly interested in craft beer.”

So what makes the FWIBF so special? It’s more than just the 50 world-renowned breweries that are in attendance, it’s the high quality beer that all of these breweries tend to showcase during the fest. Brynildson has a solid network of friends in the brewing industry to pull from and this he does this oh so well. Its pretty rare to see the founder of Russian River Brewing, Vinnie Cilurzo, pouring jeroboams of 6 year old Temptation to the delight of attendees that just happened to be at the right location at the right time.

Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River pouring 2009 Temptation at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River pouring 2009 Temptation at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest

Another highlight of the FWIBF is that one of the main requirements is that a brewer is required to be in a booth pouring its beers throughout the festival. This is rare to see here in Oregon as most fests here rely on volunteers. Its great to see that the person pouring your beer is educated on what is being poured into your glass.

Beyond this its great that this all inclusive fest also features some of the 20+ top Central Coast restaurants and live music from acts such the Small Kicks and Jackie Greene. Plus the event is a fundraiser for the Paso Robles Pioneer Day Committee.  This group is dedicated to the preservation of the unique history and culture of Paso Robles with 100 percent of the net proceeds going to Pioneer Day. This festival is also a great opportunity to show people from across the United States and around the world what Robles and all that the Central Coast has to offer.

Every year at the FWIBF attendees get to vote for the People’s Choice Brewery and People’s Choice Restaurant. 2015 winners include 3 Floyds for the brewery and Sugar Lips San Luis Obispo for restaurant.

Some of the top beers tasted this year include:

  • 3 Floyds Barrel Aged Dark Lord Coffee Variant & Zombie Dust
  • Firestone Walker Barrelworks Feral Vinifera & Bretta Rosé
  • Russian River 2009 Temptation & STS Pils
  • Trumer Brauerei Dry Hopped Trumer Pils
  • Surly Todd the Axe Man IPA
  • Marble Brewing Red Light Lager
  • Revolution Brewing Café Deth & Fist City
  • Sierra Nevada Port Barrel Aged Narwhal
  • Birrificio Italiano Tipopils
  • Bagby Beer Of Kolsh!
  • Lagunitas Mango Daytime Firkin
  • New Belgium Pear Ginger Beer
  • Side Project Thicket
  • Boneyard Beer Femme Fatale Raspberry Tart

With well over 175 different beers pouring, all top-notch beers I beg anyone that attended to find a bad beer in the bunch.

I am definitely looking forward to the 2016 edition of the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest less than a year from now. Do yourself a favor and put this one on your calendar. But before we bid farewell to this year’s Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest, here’s a photo recap from the past weekend.

Video Showing the General Admission Entry at the FWIBF

2015 FWIBF Beer Lineup
2015 FWIBF Beer Lineup
Paso Robles Event Center and Home of the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Paso Robles Event Center and Home of the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Banner
2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Banner
The crowd gathers before General Admission gates open at Noon at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
The crowd gathers before General Admission gates open at Noon at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
The crowd before the Noon entry at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
The crowd before the Noon entry at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Ian Greene and Mark Henion holding down the Boneyard Taps at the 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival.
Ian Greene and Mark Henion holding down the Boneyard Taps at the 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival.
Birrificio Italiano Tipopils at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Italy’s Birrificio Italiano Tipopils at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Bells pouring at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Bells pouring at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
BraufactuM Roog at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Germany’s BraufactuM Roog at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Cornhole at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Cornhole at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Australia's Bridge Road Brewers at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Australia’s Bridge Road Brewers at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Ian Roberts & Dean Hudgins from Seattle's Pine Box and Adam Robbings of Reubens Brews at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Ian Roberts & Dean Hudgins from Seattle’s Pine Box and Adam Robbings of Reubens Brews at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Three Floyds at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Three Floyds at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest during VIP Hour
Dick Cantwell, formerly of Elysian Brewing, in the New Belgium Tent at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Dick Cantwell, formerly of Elysian Brewing, in the New Belgium Tent at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Festival Grounds at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Festival Grounds at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Brewpublic's D.J. Paul drinking a 3 Floyds Big Tiddy Assassin at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Brewpublic’s D.J. Paul drinking a 3 Floyds Big Tiddy Assassin at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Firestone Walker 805 Trailer at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Firestone Walker 805 Trailer at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Bagby Beer at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Bagby Beer at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Misting Tent at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Misting Tent at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Harvey's Honeyhuts at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Harvey’s Honeyhuts at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jackie Greene on stage at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jackie Greene on stage at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jim Crooks, Jeffers Richardson and David Walker popping magnum's of Feral Vinifera at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jim Crooks, Jeffers Richardson and David Walker popping magnum’s of Feral Vinifera at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jeffers Richardson & David Walker pouring Feral Vinifera at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jeffers Richardson & David Walker pouring Feral Vinifera at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jeffers Richardson pouring magnum's of Feral Vinifera at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jeffers Richardson pouring magnum’s of Feral Vinifera at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jeffers Richardson and David Walker with magnums of Feral Vinifera at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jeffers Richardson and David Walker with magnums of Feral Vinifera at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jeffers Richardson and David Walker pouring magnum's of Feral Vinifera at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Jeffers Richardson and David Walker pouring magnum’s of Feral Vinifera at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Lagunitas Pouring Mango Daytime at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Lagunitas Pouring Mango Daytime at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Sierra Nevada Tawny Narwhal aged in Port Barrels at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Sierra Nevada Tawny Narwhal aged in Port Barrels at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Firestone Walker Barrelworks Booth at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Firestone Walker Barrelworks Booth at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Land Rover at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Land Rover at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Marble Brett IPA at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Marble Brett IPA at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Trumer Pils at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Trumer Pils at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Water on Tap at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Water on Tap at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
David Walker pouring a rare beer at the 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
David Walker pouring a rare beer at the 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Boneyard Bus at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Brewers Camp
Boneyard Bus at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Brewers Camp
Brewers Campground at Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Brewers Campground at Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest
Boneyard Bus at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Brewers Campground
Boneyard Bus at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Brewers Campground
Bone Light pouring at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Brewers Camp
Bone Light pouring at 2015 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Brewers Camp
Is Brewery Branding getting in the Taco Truck Business at FWIBF?
Is Brewery Branding getting in the Taco Truck Business at FWIBF?
Firestone Walker Brewery
Firestone Walker Brewery
Entry to Firestone Walker Visitors Center
Entry to Firestone Walker Visitors Center
Firestone Walker Visitors Center
Firestone Walker Visitors Center
Inside the Firestone Walker Visitors Center
Inside the Firestone Walker Visitors Center
Firestone Walker Brewery Lid
Firestone Walker Brewery
The Brewers Tap inside the Firestone Walker Brewhouse
The Brewers Tap inside the Firestone Walker Brewhouse
Tanks inside the Firestone Walker Brewery
Tanks inside the Firestone Walker Brewery
Tank at Firestone Walker Brewery
Tank at Firestone Walker Brewery
Dry Hop at Firestone Walker Brewery
Dry Hop at Firestone Walker Brewery
Barrels used for brewing Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale (DBA)
Barrels used for brewing Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale (DBA)
Brewing Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale (DBA)
Brewing Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale (DBA)
The Lion and The Beer on an Outside wall at Firestone Walker Brewery
The Lion and The Beer on an Outside wall at Firestone Walker Brewery
Matt Brynildson with Davide Walker and Polly Walker inside Firestone Walker Barrel Room
Matt Brynildson with Davide Walker and Polly Walker inside Firestone Walker Barrel Room
Barrels aging inside Firestone Walker climate control barrel room
Barrels aging inside Firestone Walker climate control barrel room
Helldorado straight from the barrel at Firestone Walker
Helldorado straight from the barrel at Firestone Walker
Beer Traffic Control at Firestone Walker
Beer Traffic Control at Firestone Walker
Firestone Walker Brewery Store
Firestone Walker Brewery Store
The Taproom Firestone Walker
The Taproom at Firestone Walker
Inside The Taproom at Firestone Walker
Inside The Taproom at Firestone Walker

 

The Lion's Land Rover - David Walker of Firestone Walker
The Lion’s Land Rover – David Walker of Firestone Walker
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