Posted by Katie Marconi, Kevin Allen
There was love in the air this Valentine’s Day in Boise:  the love of Firkin beer.  The Boise Downtown Rotary Club hosted its 4th annual Firkin Frolic Beer Festival, paying homage to the ‘old-style’ beer brewed in a cask or keg and tapped in a special way.  Drinking a Firkin beer is like going back in a time machine — back to the first days of beer drinking.  
The event at the Basque Center on Grove Street was a total sellout and, by all accounts, a huge success.  What separates the Firkin Frolic from most brew fests is that the ‘Frolicers’ are sampling beer created specifically for the event.  You can’t find these beers in a pub or on a store shelf.  Not even the brewers know how the firkins will turn out until each one is tapped.  There were some tasty, unique beers on hand!  Being Valentine’s Day, one brewer concocted a “jungle juice” that was bright pink in color.  One could assume few attendees had ever sampled a pink beer before the Firkin Frolic!  And brewers, being the beer connoisseurs that they are, enjoyed sampling & talking shop with their fellow brewers in the room.    
One of our favorite aspects of Firkin Frolic is the mix of people.  All drinking-age generations were represented and people from all walks of life mingled like old friends.  We were impressed with the level of support we had from Rotarians outside of our own club.  Among the volunteers for the event were not only Rotarians from our club but also their spouses and Rotarians from other clubs. As the evening wound down & the crowd thinned, we had time to catch up with Rotarians, meet or visit with their spouses, and learn what’s new in their lives.  You don’t always get those opportunities in Rotary meetings.  It’s really a special event and we’re fortunate to have people like Fred, Katie, & their committee work to make it happen.
And did we say that the merchandise was moving almost as fast as the beer?  Specifically, there were scarves from Ecuador and “Stomp Out Polio” shoes sold at the event. Both the scarves and shoes seemed to be a great way to talk to the patrons of the event about a couple of the great things that the Rotary does. The proceeds of the scarf sales were designated for the World Service Committee — which assists our friends in the global community by raising funds for international service projects. The proceeds from the shoe sales were designated for the Rotary campaign to eradicate Polio.
Overall, we had a very successful event. We all had a good time tasting some unique beers, we provided a marketing opportunity for some of our local businesses and breweries, and we raised funds and awareness of Rotary in our community.  Here’s to Firkin Frolic V!