Hi! This is Gina from Craft Beer Hound… here to tell you a little bit about FirkFest 2014 – a festival I was able to attend recently in Anaheim, California.
It was a sold out festival with over 30 southern California breweries in attendance. It was complete with lawn games, a great DJ and some wonderful food from restaurants like The Kroft.
This was the first festival of its kind that I have been able to attend, at least – it was an all cask festival. Cask beers – another name for them is a “firkin” – and so there you get the name “FirkFest”. So: all cask beers – really fun and different.
I love cask beers and you don’t get a chance to try them all of the time. So this was a great way to try a bunch of different cask beers right off. It was interesting that milk stouts and chili beers really prevailed throughout the festival. As it turns out, those are two styles of beer that do really, really well under cask conditioning.
Some of the standout beers for the festival was Karl Strauss had their Big Barrel IPA, but instead of just being their standard, they threw in some roasted Anaheim chilies. It was an amazing beer – one of my favorites from the festival. It had some really great – like – just the smell of it was roasted chilies all the way and the burn was there, but it wasn’t too bad. It was a really great beer.
Also, Noble Ale Works had a milk stout there… unfortunately named “Man’s Milk”. Yes, I liked it, but it was called “Man’s Milk”. Thank you, Noble Ale Works, for making me say that. It was brewed with vanilla and almonds. Fan-ta-bulous beer. It was a little light on carbonation – even for a cask beer – but still, very standout.
Belching Beaver also had a great beer that was there. It was called “Me So Honey”. It was a coffee coconut honey wheat ale. I’ve had a coffee IPA before – which is kind of an odd pairing any time you’ve got coffee in a light beer is kind of odd – this one was really great. I liked it a lot.
Also, oh – Valiant Brewing had a 17% beer called “Last Flight”. It was made with Gran Marnier, figs, cherries – I think there was some coffee and vanilla – really, really great beer. Definitely only needed a taste of that one at 17% - but it was awesome.
So, really great festival put on by our good friend, Greg Nagel, from the OC Beer Blog and now the West Coaster. Congratulations, Greg! Great beer festival - we can’t wait for FirkFest 2.0!