By Jante Ziarra
Southern California brewers came together last Saturday, March 21, to celebrate craft beer by creating special casks for the second annual FirkFest. The Farmer’s Park in the Anaheim Packing District took the setting for the sold out cask beer festival brewed up by Greg Nagel of the OC Beer Blog.
Over 30 SoCal breweries got a chance to concoct special blends for this sold out festival of 500 attendees, which is smallcompared to most beer fests. FirkFest provides a more intimate atmosphere to drink unlimited pours of beer from local breweries that span from San Diego to LA.
Most breweries had two casks, while MacLeod Ale Brewing Co., who specializes in the British-style brewing that cask ales originate, had six.
Golden Road may have been the only brewery that completed tapped out of both casksAlpha Wolf IPA, a triple dry-hopped Wolf Among Weeds and Princesa Peach Berliner Weiss, aged in tequila barrelsbefore the festival was over which is good news since Golden Road has plans to open up an Anaheim hopefully by the end of this year.
One beer that embodied the Asian influence in Southern California like no other was Torrance-based Smog City Brewing with their PhoTonic IPA, which gave off the basil and citrus flavors of pho.
This year at FirkFest, attendees got to vote for their favorite chiliin a chili cook-off between OC chefs. Slaters 50/50 won first place in the first ever chili cook-off. It was no surprise; Slaters made a hearty All-American chili using ground turkey, bacon, Fritos, topped with sour cream. Not to mention, the portions were bigger than everyone else’s. They were probably the reason why I couldn’t make my way around to all 10 contestants!
Third place went to Healthy Junk’s vegetarian chili and second went to Iron Press. Adya did an Indian twist on chili with lamb and cilantro, packed with bright, refreshing flavors; I was surprised they didn’t place.
This year’s FirkFest was another success at bringing the local food and beer community together. It was so much of a success that Nagel is looking to expand the festival for next year and double it in size. I’m already looking forward to next year’s cask beer fest!