Tickets go on sale Sunday, Feb. 8 2015, at 9:00 a.m. PST, for the fourth annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival (FWIBF). As they have in previous years, these will likely sell out within minutes, so grab your coffee early and get set before sales start.

The festival will take place from 12- 5 p.m., Saturday, May 30, 2015, in Paso Robles at the Pioneer Town Event Center and is one of the country's most highly anticipated beer festivals. Firestone Walker Brewing Co. will bring together over 45 top breweries, some from California, but many from other states and countries that don’t distribute to the West Coast, for a festival that makes beer geeks around the world envious of its tap list.

Last year’s Garage Project from New Zealand was a crowd favorite, and we can expect to see a balanced bill of international breweries again this year. Although we cannot confirm brewmaster Matt Brynildson’s final lineup of breweries, a Firestone Walker representative tells us, “expect to see FWIBF favorites but also some intriguing newcomers.”

Besides unlimited tastings of hard-to-find and greatly coveted beer, what can you expect from the $85 ticket? A smattering of delicious food samples from over 25 of the Central Coast’s best restaurants, of course. American fare like chili and barbecue in addition to more delicate items such as the memorable craft beer gelato that was such a hit last year. Live music and a grassy knoll provide a great place to take a load off. If you’re looking to park it in the shade for a few minutes sit in on the hourly Behind the Beer Sessions, featuring interviews with some of the festival’s most interesting attendants.

2014 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest; Credit: Erika Bolden

2014 Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest; Credit: Erika Bolden

Want to get into the festival an hour before that steaming crowd that's been lined up since dawn? Buy an early admission ticket for $211. And before you balk at the up-sell price, all the proceeds from these more expensive tickets go to the Marine Corp Scholarship Foundation. (Also, there will be Dark Lord.) 

Hopefully we’ll see some local brewers on the list but the advantage of the FWIBF, what really sets it apart from the rest, is the opportunity to drink beers you’d otherwise have to board a plane to sample.

Beyond the beer, the FWIBF is about people and community. Not just the community you’ve established at home — only a select few of those breweries will be pouring. This festival is it about extending the reach of your relationships entirely. Introduce yourself to the brewmaster you’ve always wanted to meet, make new contacts with whom you can trade beer, and solidify existing friendships that will last for many years and many festivals to come. 

To purchase tickets, visit. the FWIBF 2015 Eventbrite page after 9 a.m. on Sunday, February 8. 

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