AboutDavid Thompson – PorchDrinking.com
Among the long list of beer festivals each year, there are a handful that stand out as can’t miss events. There are even fewer select events that are “beer lovers bucket list” type events. The Firestone Walker Invitational is one such event.
For a decade, the Firestone Walker Invitational has been putting together a festival that brings together world class craft beer, food from the best chefs in California’s Central Coast, and some amazing music all in a setting that allows for beer enthusiasts to engage with the people who make the beer.
This time last year my wife and I were just settling into our new home in Sacramento. Being here only a few months, we had experienced quite a few of the craft breweries around the area, but hadn’t fully experienced all that the Golden State had to offer to the craft beer lover. Then we went to the Craft Beer Summit and we got the glimpse of the variety and quality of the craft beer in California.
It was the summer of 2009. Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow was blasting on pop radio, the Lakers had just beaten Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals and for the first time in my college life, I wasn’t going home to Montana for the summer. It was also the summer that I had Widmer Brothers Brewing’s Hefeweizen for the first time and that summer I fell in love with craft beer.
Summertime in Sacramento is hot. This coming weekend, it’s going to be triple digits and everywhere from the industrial park of West Sacramento, through the highway 50 corridor, up into the foothills, beer lovers will be flocking to their favorite brewery to find some shade and enjoy a brew or two.
If you find yourself at Bike Dog, you may notice a new subset of the ever-loved IPA, their Nameless Brut. Compared to the loud, bold and anything but subtle juicy IPA’s that have been all the rage for the past couple of years, the Extra Brut IPA is a super dry, clean-cut IPA that is crisp, clear and offers the perfect blank canvas to feature the almighty hop.
For the fifth year in a row, Epic Brewing’s Denver Taproom will host its infamous 50 Firkin Fiasco this Thursday, October 5. The annual event has turned into a fan favorite for GABF goers, visiting brewers and anyone who likes tasting creative twists on super solid beers.
Get ready, beer lovers! It’s GABF week and in honor of the great host city of Denver, we’ve put together of a playlist featuring some of Denver’s best bands as well as some classic live recordings from Denver’s most famous venue: Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Over the next week, craft beer brewers, connoisseurs, retailers and distributors from across California will converge on Sacramento for the 3rd annual California Craft Beer Summit. This three-day event is focused on education, knowledge sharing, collaboration and celebration of everything California craft beer. “The Summit isn’t just a food pairing event, it isn’t just a festival, it isn’t just a trade show and it isn’t just educational – it’s all of the above,” says Leia Ostermann Bailey, Managing Director with the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA), “The Summit brings together a community of people that share the same values of creativity and innovation.“
About 14 years ago, on a mix CD made up of songs downloaded by my buddy solely from Kazaa, I listened to Sic Transit Gloria … Glory Fades for the first time, and I was introduced to Brand New, the Long Island Emo/Punk Pop band. Immediately, I fell in love with everything they were about from their counter melodies to their feud with Taking Back Sunday (another band I loved at the time … and still enjoy quite a bit). Their early music captured all the suburban angst a wannabe punk kid from Montana like me could muster.
ABV: 6.8% | IBU: 85
Seeing that the times are what they are, you know with politics, fake news, real news, climate change, brewery buy outs, you may think that Modern Time’s hoppy amber Blazing World was named after… modern times. Not exactly. “Yeah, we definitely never intended it to be that timely of a name,” said Modern Times communication coordinator Dan Reed.
Despite how depressingly timely the name may be, the “hoppy, dank, amber” is truly an uplifting beer. “The stickiest of the icky,” as Reed described. “It’s a luxuriously hoppy amber loaded up with intemperate quantities of Nelson, Mosaic and Simcoe hops, which are some of the fruitiest, dankest hops sweet, sweet money can buy,” Reed added.
The first time I heard about the Firestone Walker Invitational, I wasn’t quite sure I understood the gravity associated with it. It peaked my interest for sure—a festival with food and music, hosted by a brewery with the reputation like Firestone Walker. It’s exciting but really there are plenty of beer festivals happening all the time. Then I saw who was participating, and the weight of the event started to gain clarity.
Part of being an adult is understanding what your priorities are in life. That is exactly why my wife and I are heading down to Paso Robles, California for the Firestone Walker Invitational one day after closing on our house. Yes we could spend the weekend moving out from the in-laws and settling into our first house, but we can do that anytime. And this is the Firestone Walker Invitational, a beer festival described as “An epic yet intimate gathering of 50+ leading brewers from around the nation & world celebrating craft beer in our hometown of Paso Robles.”
During the 4th Annual Collaboration Fest this weekend at Denver’s National Western Complex, don’t be surprised when the name Überbrew continues to pop up. The Billings, Montana based brewers are collaborating on four beers this year, an impressive feat for any brewery let alone one based out of Montana. “Collaboration Fest stands out as unique in a sea of very similar festival formats. Not only is Collaboration Fest unique but it has a very special energy and vibe,” says Überbrew “Beer Apostle” Chad Broderius.
Feature photo credit: Briar Common Facebook
When Kent, Greg and Travis Dawson decided to make their dream of opening a brewery become a reality they started to look around the brewery scene in Denver and they realized that while there were plenty of new breweries opening up, very few of those breweries were dedicated to serving outstanding food to go along with the high-quality beer they were brewing.
“It was clear that the brewpub model was quickly being outnumbered by the manufacturing/tasting room model.”
Kent Dawson, co-founder of Briar Common Brewery + Eatery
The Academy Awards are just like any other sports event; a day where you put your hopes on people that will be recognized for the performances and stories made for millions to enjoy. It is a year-long game of twists and turns, where you can never quite predict who is going to win big, critically and financially.
Award season is upon us. We are a couple weeks removed from the Golden Globes, and the Academy Award Nominations were just announced. 2016 was an amazing year for music in movies. From the awards-darling La La Land (nominated for a record tying 14 Oscars), to the uber charming and my favorite movie of the year Sing Street, the movies of 2016 produced some extremely streamable music.
Armory XPA ABV: 5.9% | IBU: 55
Sagefight Imperial IPA ABV: 8.0% | IBU: 75
I spent the first few of my formative beer drinking years living in Portland, Oregon, where IPAs are king. Like a child who doesn’t like broccoli, I was naive about hoppy, aromatic beers and stuck to sweeter beers as much as I could. But alas, a beer drinker can repent of their beer drinking sins, and however naive I once was, I have seen the light.
Yak & Yeti has been satisfying foodies in the Denver Metro area for more than 15 years with delicious Indian and Nepalese food, and in 2008 they began catching the eye of beer geeks when they first kicked off their in-house brewing program. They have now created an event that will satisfy anyone who falls anywhere on the Venn diagram between culinary pro and beer fanatic with their Thali Beer Dinners, the first of which will take place Tuesday, December 13 at the Yak & Yeti Arvada Brewpub.
Photo courtesy of the Huffington Post.
Every year my wife spends days combing through new Christmas music, and revisiting classic versions and compiles a new seasonal mix of music. Every year she spends even more time trying to come up …
Another Great American Beer Festival has come and gone, and looking back at the festival, and the week of events that accompanied the festival it’s sad to think we have to wait a full year for it come around again. My week of beer-centric events started with Epic Brewing’s 4th annual 50 Firkin Fiasco.
ABV: 4.7% | IBU: 12
Winning a medal at GABF is a big deal, and for a craft brewer it could be validation of years of work and passion. Three years ago, it was Kyle Carbaugh, the self described “Grand Poobah” at the then GABF rookie Wiley Roots Brewing Company who felt that validation when their Super 77 Wheat took home the Bronze Medal.