Firkfest-Caskaway-Tiki-Beer-Fest-e1487368030575Dust off your floral shirts, coconut bras, and pretzel leis, the 4th Annual Firkfest Beer Festival celebrates Tiki culture this year — boasting the first of its kind in the world! Find all the tropical thunder on Saturday, March 11, 2017 from noon to 4pm at the Anaheim Packing District’s outdoor area of boardwalk and grassy knolls. “It’s a park-like atmosphere, where people chill on beach blankets and lawn chairs,” says organizer Greg Nagel.

If you’re truly a beer buff, you’re already very familiar with the terms cask-conditioned or cask ale. If your memory isn’t what it used to be, here’s a quick, geeky refresher course from

What is Cask Beer?

Unfiltered beer (usually ale), that is racked (transferred) into casks, krausened (carbonated), sealed and then undergoes a slight final fermentation in the cask. Often finings (clarifying agents) will be added to help the beer drop bright—when yeast cells naturally flocculate (clump) and settle at the bottom of a vessel.

The net result is a beer that has a much gentler level of carbonation, a rounder mouthfeel, and since it is unfiltered, usually shows a slightly more complex flavor and aromatic profile. It is often slightly cloudy, and is best served at cellar temperature (around 55°F). It’s considered “live” beer since it is unfiltered and has live yeast in the cask (which is how we get the final fermentation and carbonation).

The question begs, but why Tiki?

“Looking at the previous three Firkfest events, I saw a common denominator: tropical-style beers seemed to stand out. As a huge cocktail nerd that loves Tiki culture, it’s time for the area’s craft brewers to come together, throw on some grass skirts, and make something truly unique,” says founder, organizer, and local beer writer Greg Nagel, @OCBeerBlog.

Of the hundreds of different flavors of beer, a large portion can be described as “tropical”. Whether it be IPAs bursting with mango, pineapple, or passion fruit hoppy notes; stouts with roasted Pina Colada and Mai Tai vibes; or even Belgian-style beers with Zombie cocktail overtones. Don’t be surprised to see this year’s Firkfest beers to include “aged in rum barrel” or have actual grilled pineapple in the mix.

Making this party more luau-like, everything from the beer, food, and decor will be Tiki themed. Actually, that also includes the attendees. So, unless you want to stand out like a big, sore haole thumb, you’ll start getting your outfit ready yesterday. Tiki DJ Ken will be spinning a variety of exotica, marimba, and modern tunes to delight the frisbee flingers, gyrating hula hoopers, and hoi polloi.

Sneak peek of some of the specialty blends:

  • Mikkeller’s Beer Geek’s “Tiki Land with caramelized pineapple and toasted coconut
  • Barley Forge’s The Pasty aged on rum soaked oak
  • Macleod Ale Brewing and Inland Wharf Brewing’s six cheeky British style real ale casks (what one might drink at the Great British Beer Festival in London)

Food vendors include:

  • Hatch and the Iron Press – Pulled Pork Fries, Sliders
  • Adya -Tropical Kebab, Pineapple Chaat “Nachos”
  • Salt & Ash- Pork Musubi surprise

Could this unique festival get even more unique?

Yes, all 50 cask beers made for Firkfest will only be consumed at the event and (probably) never, ever again. For all you fans of the one- offs, I bet you just peed a little. Entry is $55 +fees and includes unlimited tastes of the  aforementioned 50 cask beers. Tickets are extremely limited, as the event producer likes to keep things intimate.

All profits from Firkfest support the newly formed Orange County Brewer’s Guild, a local non-profit 501c6 that aims to grow local craft beer culture, knowledge, and events in Orange County.

Visit for the brewery list, tickets, and more information.

Corky Nepomuceno

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