Not sure how this happens, but springtime seems to be firkin season. We've had Day of the Living Ales, and it seems more than a few elbow-bending spas announce an special "pin" of unfiltered, gravity-fed ale on the counter each week. So if cask is your thing, here's your next thing (see what I did there: "firkin," "cask," "pin"… they all mean the same thing).
On March 29, Headquarters Beercade will host its second annual Firkin Fest, more colloquially called "What The Firk?" The event is at HQ Beercade's new River North location, 213 W. Institute, at 12:00 - 5:00 pm.
Last year's sell-out event attracted over 500 beer buffs. This year, the event will be bigger, with 50 local and regional breweries. Each attendee will get the chance to try fifty unique firkins, a chef curated buffet, and a souvenir tasting glass. You'll then vote for the “People’s Choice Award” beer at the end of the day. In addition, guests can mingle with an esteemed panel of industry and media experts.
Sip on offerings crafted by a variety of vendors, including Illinois favorites: Goose Island Beer Co. (winner of the 2014 Firkin Fest “People’s Choice Award;” Chicago, IL); Begyle, Destihl, Half Acre Beer Co., Metropolitan Brewing, Off Color Brewing, Penrose Brewing, Revolution Brewing, Solemn Oath Brewery, Spiteful, 5 Rabbit, Ale Syndicate, BrickStone, Temperance, Ten Ninety, Lagunitas, Finch's, Empirical, Marz, and Two Brothers Brewing Co..
Respected regional breweries will also include: Three Floyds Brewing Co., 3 Sheeps Brewing Co., Brewery Vivant, Green Flash Brewing, Founders Brewing Co., Left Hand Brewing Co., Oskar Blues, Surly Brewing Co., SKA Brewing, Tyranena Brewing, Tallgrass, Vander Mill Cidery, Kentucky Ale, Hinterland, New Belgium, Saugatuck, Great Lakes, Lakefront, Greenbush, Shmaltz (He'Brew), Arcadia Ales, Boulder Beer, BFM, Uncle John's Hard Cider, and Victory.
Beer served from a firkin is considered “real ale,” one that is cask conditioned but has not been cold-filtered, pasteurized, or carbonated by outside equipment. Beer in the cask, whether steel or wood, harbors active yeast, which means the flavor profile will evolve over time. Many of the beers poured at Firkin Fest will be one-of-a-kind ales that have never been sipped before – and may not be savored ever again!
Tickets are available online at $75, plus fee. Bu-u-u-ut, I've been extended this offer by HQ Beercade and Capacity Bar Group: click that word online to order tickets, then click the "Buy Now" link, and enter "Beeronaut10" in the Discount Code box. Poof! You've got $10 off that ticket! As they say, act now: last year's Firkin Fest sold out, and as for me, I enjoy the chance to throw a little sumpin' in my readers' direction (besides getting to see how effective what the blogerati have named my "Call to Action" is). Admission at the door, if any is available, will be $85.
Any beers still on tap after 5:00 pm can be enjoyed for $5, and did I mention the buffet? And being HQ Beercade, they have arcade games, too.