Los Angeles Ale Works and Bruery Terreux/Offshoot Beer were also fitting the bill at Firkfest 2018. Photos by David Mulvihill.

Firkfest 2018 once again took on the nontraditional cask theme that was so successful last year. Firkfest–Anaheim’s Tiki Beer Festival included a multitude of tropical-inspired cask conditioned ales accompanied by a few traditional British-style real-ales. 

The formulation details that follow will likely illustrate that most beers creatively exceeded the limits of style and variety of ingredients ending up in the finished product.

Perhaps the most colorful of the tropical-themed firkins came from Anaheim’s Bottle Logic. Its Blue Hawaiian Tart Wheat possessed a vibrant aquamarine color, tart and tropical with notes of pineapple and coconut. 

In addition to his cask IPA with pineapple, The Good Beer Company’s owner/brewer Brandon Fender was also serving a beer cocktail. Laboratory met tiki as he crafted a labor intensive cocktail in an Ehrlinmeyer flask using the aforementioned IPA, pina, honey and grenadine. It was fittingly adorned with lime wedge, straw and umbrella. 

Costa Mesa’s Gunwhale Ales dispensed its Hurricane War Bonnet, an 8.5% ABV raspberry and hibiscus-laced Saison-style ale formulated with orange, lime, pomegranate, passion fruit and rum-soaked oak chips. San Clemente’s Left Coast Brewing similarly included rum-soaked oak chips in its construction of Blonde Marvel, a 4.5% ABV ale with lime and grapefruit zest added to the mix. Also on the rum-soaked oak chips team was nearby Unsung Brewing’s Amber, also finished with caramelized pineapple. The rum was Caña Brava, in a beer that was collaboratively brewed with The Blind Pig in OC’s Rancho Santa Margarita. Unsung’s second offering was a plum sour with organic papaya.

Noble Ale Works billed its Skittlebrau as 100% more tropical. This tiki-tart beer was casked with floating Skittles in the mix.  

The tiki offering from Placentia’s Stereo Brewing was at first scary in name and description, but a combination that actually worked well in the glass. Stereo Scottish Ale was the base for this beer, which was blended with coconut cream, blood oranges and pineapple.

Anaheim’s Bruery Terreux, honored host and Firkfest founder Greg Nagel with its Frucht: Nagel, a Berliner-weisse-style tart-wheat aged in an oak foeder with guava and mango, intense in flavor, but quaffable at 4.4% ABV.

And, along the non-fruity spectrum of beers, San Clemente’s Lost Winds Brewing checked in with San O Stout with toasted coconut in its formulation. 

Firkfest out-of-towners included Hawthorne’s Los Angeles Ale Works and Burbank’s Verdugo West. Los Angeles Ale Works brought a couple of intriguing and hearty (alcohol-wise) formulations. Star Kitten Fruit Salad combined calamansi, guava, cherries and kumquats. Calamansi looks much like a lime, but is apparently a member of the genus citrus and kumquat, an inter-genetic hybrid between the two fruits. It finished at 8.7% ABV. L.A.’s Blockchain Mango Milkshake IPA, with pineapple puree and coconut, topped the ABV ranks at almost 10%.

Verdugo West’s tropical version of its Trustworthy IPA combined coconut, orange, vanilla and hibiscus.

Three other out-of-county breweries brought actual versions of traditional real ale.

One can always count on the brewing team of Andy Black and Sam Croft to provide true representations of cask conditioned real ale. Representing their Yorkshire Square Brewery in Torrance was Dumpster Fire, a 3.6% ABV pub bitter and Git Rekt M8, a dark mild at a respectable 4.0% ABV.

While pushing traditional ABVs a bit, Murrieta’s Inland Wharf Brewing Co’s Admiral Nimitz ESB-1 (6.3% ABV) and Stormy Sky (5.7% ABV porter) were agreeable representations.

MacLeod Brewing (Van Nuys) brought five beers. Two on the lower end of the ABV scale were The Little Spree, a 4.7% version of a Yorkshire-style pale and Good Ol Geoff, 3.9% British-style mild ale.  

New Breweries on the Horizon

New Breweries on the Horizon

Brewery X

A new brewery is about to break ground in Anaheim. With Conditional Use Permit now in hand, Brewery X will soon make its home in the huge 76,000-square-foot building at 3191 E La Palma Ave, near the intersection at Kraemer, just north of the 91 Freeway. The property was previously occupied by Parker-Hannifin (and Boeing before that). Former Pizza Port San Clemente head brewer Trevor Walls has been enlisted to oversee a new 4-vessel 15-barrel brewing system, custom designed to fit the unique interactive Brewery X taproom experience the team has planned. Look for lagering tanks to also be in the mix. 

In addition to a substantial tasting room, the sizeable space will provide plenty of room to grow and allow for a multifaceted experience that will likely include outdoor patio (with lake and mountain views) and a sprawling event space for live music. 

Gamecraft Brewing

Also making progress is Gamecraft Brewing. Gamecraft’s building permit has been approved by the City of Laguna Hills and founder Scott Cebula is now aiming for an August, 2018 opening. Andrew Moy, formerly of Huntington Beach RIIP Beer Co, has been recruited as head brewer for Gamecraft.  The plan is for brewing of lagers and ales on a 15-barrel steam-powered brewhouse. Gamecraft will also have a kitchen to accommodate its tasting room, patio and event space. 23301 Avenida De La Carlota, Laguna Hills.