Nile Zacherle, co-founder of Mad Fritz Brewing Co., maker of craft beer using only locally grown barley and hops, announces the inaugural Firkin Fest, from 1-5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Bale Grist Mill Historic State Park.
More than 15 small craft production, family-owned breweries will be attending and offering a variety of styles of ales and lagers from bottles, kegs and Firkins, which are 5- to 10-gallon casks featuring naturally carbonated and hand tapped beers. The event takes place in conjunction with Mad Fritz’s five-year anniversary of producing uniquely sourced craft ales and lagers.
The Firkin Fest allows consumers to experience artisan brewing “under one roof” or in this case on the historic property of the Bale Grist Mill State Park. The park is the site of a water-powered grist mill that was built in 1846 and is one of only two water-driven mills remaining west of the Mississippi River.
“Back in the day, long before the coffee shop on every corner, the mill was the centerpiece of social activity in Napa Valley, and for me, it’s the absolute perfect place for us to have an afternoon of incredible beers, food and live music,” Zacherle said.
“We’re thrilled to be both host and beneficiary of this unique event which we believe will introduce new visitors to how the Bale Grist Mill played a pioneering role in the settlement of the Napa Valley,” said Kathleen Carrick from the Napa Valley State Parks Association. The mill, which will be in production during the Firkin Fest, is operated by the Napa Open Space District with support from Napa Valley State Parks Association. Proceeds from the event will go to the Napa Valley State Parks Association.
Along with an exceptional line up of breweries with some making treks as far as North Carolina and Alaska, and local favorites such as the Calistoga Brewing Company, the event will feature live music by Poor Man’s Whiskey, known for high-energy shows and an incomparable fusion of bluegrass/old time, southern rock, and old school jams. Guests will also experience culinary treats by chef Josh Mitchell of Heritage Catering.
Also unique to the Firkin Fest is the “hike-in” entrance option for event attendees. The 1.1-mile “History Trail” for attendees starts at the picnic area at the adjoining Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, traverses by the Pioneer Cemetery, and ultimately heads to the Ball Grist Mill. Zacherle, through his video, shares how the “hike-in” is best way to fully experience the Firkin Fest. Guests are encouraged to camp at Bothe State Park.
General admission tickets for the event are on sale at madfirkinfest.com/reserve for $95, which includes a shuttle service to the property.