Looking Back at the 7th Annual Firestone Walker International Beer Festival

Hollister’s Tiny Bubbles was a favorite at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. Nice sessionable, tart beer, perfect for 90 degree weather.

With temperatures approaching triple digits this past Saturday, the 7th annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest (FWIBF) took place to the delight of beer fans from near and afar.

A week out the weather was looking a bit more positive this year but the heat prevailed once again. The 99 degree weather didn’t deter anyone from attending as the choices of beers pouring from the 55+ breweries attending catered to a wide range of beer styles.

Quite possibly one of the best organized beer festivals in all of America that its only rivals are The Culmination Festival held in Anchorage, Alaska or the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer held in Chicago. The roster of breweries at this festival is a dream lineup of sorts. Firestone Walker Brewing’s Brewmaster, Matt Brynildson handpicks each of the breweries that attend each year. Many are invited back, including Oregon’s Boneyard Beer that has been at the festival since the festival’s inception in 2012.

It’s not an easy festival to execute as Firestone Walker puts together a core team of about ten people that give this fest the attention needed. Planning for this one-day event takes place one week from today for an event that will return in 51 weeks.

A yearly tradition at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. Matt Brynildson taking his yearly selfie with a huge crowd of beer fans behind him.

New this year was the inaugural Firestone Walker International Beer Festival Kick Off Concert headlined by Nikki Lane with openers The Mother Hips. This was a nice relaxing addition to the big event the following day. Brynildson, a huge fan of The Mother Hips, was seen at the front jamming to the Bay Area band. Then when the sun fully set Nikki Lane took the stage showing off her alt-country songs.

2012-2017 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Recaps:
FWIBF 2012
FWIBF 2013
FWIBF 2014
FWIBF 2015
FWIBF 2016
FWIBF 2017

With an impressive beer listing from the breweries choosing which beer to seek out is a huge challenge. The high temperatures did not dissuade folks from seeking out some big, barrel-aged beers that approached 15% ABV. That said many were content with more sessionable, approachable beers. Even Firestone Walker had a golf cart perusing the festival grounds serving up its recently released Lager.

Three Oregon breweries were invited to this year’s FWIBF. Boneyard Beer returned for its 7th consecutive year while Gigantic Brewing made its second visit and Crux Fermentation Project visited for its first time. All three brewers received a huge welcome from the festival attendees.

Two of the more unique and unusual beers poured at the festival featured one similar ingredient, carrot cake. Doubtful that this trend will gain much traction but Garage Project from New Zealand and Fonta Flora Brewery from Morganton, North Carolina each served one. Fonta Flora served its Urban Monk (Carrot Cake Variant) and Garage Project its Ziggy’s Carrot Cake Ale on Nitro with a spritz of orange spray.

Jos Ruffell from Garage Project serving his Ziggy’s Carrot Cake Ale during the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Fonta Flora also served a carrot cake inspired beer with its Urban Monk at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.

Speaking of Garage Project, after attending the FWIBF for the past four years, took home the Peoples Choice Award for best brewery. This award had been awarded to Side Project for the past two years and because of this the St. Louis brewer had the longest line throughout the festival.

When it came to the Peoples Choice Award for best restaurant it was Eureka! Burger from San Luis Obispo that took home this prize. The popular restaurant served up 28-day aged sliders!

Here’s our photo recap of the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.

The entrance to the Paso Robles Event Center, home of the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
What has become a normal occurance, Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest is sold out.
The Mother Hips perform at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Kick Off Party.
The Mother Hips got the crowd moving during its set at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Kick Off Party.
Brewpublic’s D.J. Paul and New Belgium’s Joel Winn at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Kick Off Party.
Nikki Lane performing at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Kick Off Party.
Nikki Lane performing at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Kick Off Party.
Nikki Lane performing at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest Kick Off Party.
The calm before the storm during the VIP Hour at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
The layers of Yuzu Rising Sun at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. The delicate pour is demonstrated in the video below.
The Giganitc Brewing crew all set up at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Boneyard made its seventh visit to the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. Here Randin King is pouring beers that he brews in Bend, Oregon.
Cam O’Connor from Crux Fermentation Project pouring at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest during the brewery’s first invite.
A popular beer at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest is Chem-Trail Mix from 3 Floyds Brewing.
A panoramic shot of the day’s longest line beloning to Side Project at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
A guitar case on stage during the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
A spaceman in the crowd at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Barrelworks blenders Jeffers Richardson and Jim Crooks at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
A sweet Blitz Weinhard hat at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Jeffers Richardson pourse some Barrelworks wild ales at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Matt Gallagher from Half Acre and Van Havig from Gigantic Brewing pouring during the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Matt Brynildson on stage at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Misters kept the crowd slightly cooler during the upper 90 degree day at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Scott Guckel from Gigantic Brewing at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Poolside Ale from Bell’s Brewery at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Thornbridge traveled from England to pour at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
Ziggy’s Carrot Cake Ale from Garage Project at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest.
The never ending line for Side Project at the 2018 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. This line goes way back into the shadows of the far right side.

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