Fest Thinkin'

This past weekend I missed the second annual Firkin Fest. (Fortunately Bill did the hard work; he has a report here.) This weekend, Seattle is having a much larger version, but the structure is just the same--two sessions on a single day. Portland's version was held at a pub, had 20 beers, cost $30, and each session was three hours long; Seattle's is being held at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion, has 65 beers, costs $40, and each session is four hours long. Same event, just bigger.

I love cask beer. The chemistry of carbonation is brutal; trying a cask ale is to understand the true nature of the beer, unbruised by the violence of CO2 (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer) and their Seattle . That love is not adequate, however, to get me to the fest. The structure resists me--I need a weekend with two or three 12-hour sessions so I can work it into my schedule. Why not have a regular fest structure?

Not only would it make it easier to get to, it would make it a populist event; right now, the only people going are SNOBs brethren. Instead, we should be targeting drinkers who don't know cask ale from a hole in the wall. It's great to create a fest for those who love cask ale but have a hard time finding it. It would be better to have a fest so more people could be introduced to it and create a market.

So to anyone from the Firkin Fest who's listening, an appeal from a lowly blogger: find a sizable location and turn this into a weekend affair. Please.


While I'm on the subject of fests, here's a random thought that floated through my brain after last week's experience with Full Sail's cask Amber. Since we have such a grievous paucity of beer festivals in Oregon (293 at last count), I'd love to see one more--the small beer fest. No beer above, what 5%, 4.5%? Maybe have a people's choice for beers below 5% and below 4%. Invite breweries to brew up special beer for the occasion and challenge them to come up with riveting flavors. Call it the Extreme Small Beer Fest or something. Small: it's the new frontier for extreme.

Now, how do you put on a fest?