On March 8th, 2014, Firestone Walker – Barrelworks released a tasty 375ml bottle of wild magic aptly named, Feral One (Pictured Right – Courtesy of John M Verive – BeerOfTomorrow.com). Not only is the Feral One the first small format bottled sour from the brewing company’s sour program, but it was also a collaborative blending project between Barrel Master Jeffers Richardson and Master Blender “Sour” Jim Crooks. The resulting beer is a complex earthy-mellow sour with light notes of oak, berries and a pleasant citrus acidity. Though there were a soiree of other tasty beers being poured at the event, Lil Opal, Sour Opal, Saucerful of Secrets, Agrestic #9 & #16, Opal, 2013 Parabola, 2014 Winter Wookey (tastes like christmas), HatTrick, and the new session IPA, Easy Jack, The “Feral One” was the focal point and a true reason to celebrate.
Execution is Everything
Firestone Walker has a reputation for hosting quality focused events and their recent beer release bash in Buellton, which saw roughly 500 attendants, was no different. Like the epic Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival, firestone does what few beer events do, provide food. With each of the 7 beer stations came an assortment of slider sized bites ranging from fried alligator, to rabbit ceviche, to frog legs. Extremely exotic bites paired with equally exotic beers. It’s striking how truly AMAZING great beer is when paired with the right food. The inclusion of food with the price of admission also reduces the effects of over-imbibing which increases the responsibleness of the event. Bravo Firestone.
As this was a bottle release event, each ticket was a reservation for Feral One bottles. After the event, participants were directed to the pick-up line and were able to leave with the 3 bottles of sour beer they paid for with the opportunity to wait in an packed line to purchase more. Parabola 2014 was available for sale as well and went quickly, leaving many beer geeks sad and frustrated. Reduced capacity on this years Parabola output will make this one of the rarest releases yet. Also available was Firestone Walker’s first time in bottle, Opal, a fruity, funky dry hopped Saison, which can easily stand up next to some of the classics and more recent releases from Dupont. This is a must try beer for lovers of the style. The young wild wheat beer, BrettaWeiss was also, albeit secretly, available. This was the top pick for Barrelworks in the book Beer Lover’s Southern California, and is the epitome of tasty low abv wild beers.
Watch for Future Events
Covering events and posting about them is a double edged sword. It’s great to recap for people that went, but for those that didn’t get to go, it’s sometimes late notice. So what should you take away from this post? 1) Firestone Walker’s sour beer program is refined and well worth the 2.5 hour drive to Buellton from LA. 2) The inclusion of food rounds out the experience with valuable thought provoking pairings and sustenance. 3) Firestone Walker events are always very well executed and are among some of the best in Southern California. The planning and attention to detail make these worth seeking out, worth spreading the word , and definitely worth your hard earned dollars. Better start looking for those Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest tickets on Stub Hub! 4) As an Angeleno, you should be getting excited about Firestone Walker’s impending brewpub opening in Venice Beach.
If you didn’t manage to score bottles of Feral One from the March 8th event, you may still be able to grab a taster up in Buellton at the source, Barrelworks. The 500 cases available went fast, but judging the vast number of LA beerofiles up at the event, theres a solid chance bottles will show up at your local bottle share. Seek this one out, it’s great.
Side note, I’ll be doing a book signing at Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach on March 30th, 2014. The festivities start at 12pm and there will be an incredibly rare keg of Agrestic, Firestone’s American Wild Red Ale (Sour Double Barrel), present. See you there!