A brief moment of reflection before this year’s Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF) had me looking for a new angle on this years festivities. I mean sure we have told you again, again, again and again that this is THE Premier craft beer festival but what else can we say? This year I sat back and actually paid attention to some of the details that I think make this event better than others.
First things first, The Firestone Walker Brewing Company has hands down some of the happiest, most dedicated and hard working staff that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Almost a full year of prep goes into this event and it definitely shows. During the last 3 days in Paso Robles we witnessed this small army of amazing people doing just about every task imaginable, all while smiling and eagerly asking what else they could do to help.
The Beer: “If you pour it, they will come” – Somebody Smart. This blatantly obvious detail gets overlooked by a ton of events, they might break out a gem or two but Firestone Walker takes the “Invitational” part of this festival’s name seriously. From a host of California heavy hitters bringing out their finest to Brewers all the way from Italy and New Zealand bringing over some of their tastiest standouts. (Full taplist here)
The People: Just think about it for a second, tickets for this festival sold out in a matter of minutes. That means most of these people prepared well in advance to sit around with their finger on a keyboard, mouse or screen for just the right second in order to purchase a spot. What this means for the fest itself is that there were tons of knowledgeable beer people in attendance that were taking full advantage of the full spread and having a great time.
The Food: Nom Nom Nom Nom Nom
So the moral of the story is that if you didn’t make it this year, try harder next year. Or marry into the FW family, get a job there, bribe a city official or whatever it takes to make sure you get in.