Courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

The second annual Pils & Love fest is making its West Coast debut.

Mike Pomranz
July 17, 2018

Themed beer festivals are a common way for organizers to separate their event from the ever-growing crowd. Hop-focused fests have become a regular occurrence. We’ve seen events paying tribute to everything from women in beer to collaboration beers to extreme beers. But a fest dedicated entirely to the simple pilsner? Yes, it exists, and this year, it’s being hosted by a brand that has made the pilsner one of its calling cards: Firestone Walker Brewing Company.

Pils & Love is a dedicated pilsner festival that first debuted in the United States in 2017 as an offshoot of a similar European event called Pils Pride, originally established back in 2008. Last year’s Pils & Love was hosted by Oxbow Brewing in Portland, Maine, but this year, the event is shifting across the country to land in Marina del Rey, California, home to Firestone Walker’s Propagator pilot brewhouse.

Though pilsners sometimes get a bad rap as being a “boring” choice—in part because the fizzy, straw-colored beer is considered the forefather of everything from Miller Lite to Budweiser—like any beer style, when put into the proper hands, pilsner can be one of the most enticing beers out there. Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing famously put their floral stamp on the American craft pilsner back in 1996 (and went on to be named #9 on our list of the 25 Most Important American Craft Beers Ever Brewed). And Firestone Walker’s own Pivo Pils is one of the brand’s signature brews featuring a hoppy bite.

In fact, Pivo Pils is regularly cited as one of America’s best, easy-to-find pilsners, so having Firestone Walker host this second Pils & Love event makes a lot of sense. Meanwhile, plenty of other amazing pilsner producers (55 breweries in all) will also be in attendance. Looking at our recent list of 14 Essential Craft Pilsners, four producers we included are currently slated to be pouring at the fest—along with other huge names like Russian River, Creature Comforts, and Tired Hands.

“I can’t think of a cooler festival,” Firestone Walker Brewmaster Matt Brynildson said in a statement. “The brewers themselves are coming out for it, so it’s this opportunity to just geek out with a bunch of people who love pilsner beer and make great pilsner beer...The common thread will be the pilsner style, but you’ll also taste the different regional signatures from the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and the U.S. It’s not just going to be the same beer over and over again.”

The event is taking place on Saturday, July 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with tickets ranging from about $34 to $65. Meanwhile, pilsner lovers on the other side of the country don’t need to worry: The 2019 edition of Pils & Love is slated to return back to Maine.