A plethora of Southern California’s finest brewers served up specialty cask ales to giddy beer geeks for this years second annual Firkfest. Greg Nagel (event host/OC Beer Blog), and Bobby Navarro of IAM (Inspire Artistic Minds), orchestrated an enjoyable multifaceted event – Firkfest surmounted all expectations with a widely varied selection of eclectic brews and an all-new chili cook-off.
If last year’s first Firkfest was a laboratory experiment (highlighting chile beers and single dry-hopped pales), this years was a full-blown science fair, with everything from Mojitos and Margaritas to Chocolate and Cacao nibs. The wide varieties of flavors perfectly complemented the wide variety of chilis presented at the cook-off, with everything from the traditional bean-and-meat chili to Indian inspired all-meat dishes. With such a wide variety, it’s nigh impossible to cover them all, however, highlights of the day are below.
Highlighted Cask Beers
PhoTonic (Hoptonic with Kaffir Lime & Thai Basil)
Smog City, Torrence
Thailand in a glass – PhoTonic gives off aromas of thai basil on the nose followed through with soft flavors of anise and licorice. This asian inspired brew is reminiscent of drinkable session IPA providing a balance between hop and malt characteristics, with a clean crisp finish.
Valentine’s Day | Chocolate Milk Stout (Brewed with cherries, Ecuador Guantupí and cacao nibs from Choxco Chocolatiers)
Barley Forge, Costa Mesa
Luxurious. Silky. Decadent . These three words embody the full bodied flavor of this ultra rich milk stout. Brewed with choxco artisan chocolate to provide a creamy mouthfeel and imperious chocolate notes (Alike to Straus Creamery’s whole chocolate milk). This beer would serve as a apropos dessert and/or night cap beer.
FiNagel IPA (El Dorado, Meridian, and Huell Melon Hopped IPA with Honey Dew, Cantaloupe, and Watermelon)
Bottle Logic, Anaheim
A liquid ode to the one and only Greg Nagel – Dry hopped to perfection, FiNagel is a beer that will quench your thirst on a hot day. Huell Melon (German) hops primarily give off aromas of bitter characteristics and finishes with distinct flavors of honeydew melon and strawberry.
The Quest (Lemon Drop)
King Harbor, Redondo Beach
One could not wish for a more refreshing IPA. Crisp, biting citrus and fresh grassy notes cleanse the palate, without becoming overbearingly hoppy. Definitely recommended for the upcoming summer months, and should be enjoyed poolside.
Selah (Saison with Lavender and Chamomile)
Selah beautifully represents Springtime in liquid form. This delicate farmhouse saison provides the perfect balance of barnyard funk and earthiness. Flavors of herbaceous lavender and chamomile compliment the acidic tartness attributed by Brettanomyces. Even the manliest of beer drinkers would enjoy this beer!
Tustin Brewing Company’s brewmaster, Jerrod Larsen, continues to branch successfully into new territory. With sharp (but not overpowering) ginger notes, this brew accentuates lemon notes of the pale’s hops, creating a crisp, refreshing beer reminiscent of beverages found in Asian Cuisine. All this beer is missing is a delicious pork Bánh Mì to pair along with it.