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Hail the highway queen! 

So, you failed to snag those coveted Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest grand tasting tickets before they sold out. Sorry to hear that, friend! Bad things do happen to good people. However, that doesn't mean you can't get in on the beer fest spirit. In fact, I highly suggest you head to the laid back, anticipated Firestone Walker beer fest kick-off concert happening Friday, June 1, featuring the outlaw country stylings of Nikki Lane at the Paso Robles Event Center (full disclosure: I am a raging fan of this woman). This one's for the locals, who'll be sipping on pours from Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa), Garage Project (New Zealand), Boneyard Brewing (Bend, Oregon), Half Acre (Chicago, Illinois), Highland Park (Los Angeles), Funkwerks (Fort Collins, Colorado), and Firestone Walker, natch. Lane's dazzling third album, Highway Queen, saw the young Nashville rebel emerge as one of most gifted songwriters in the country-rock field. Hailed by Rolling Stone, NPR, CBS This Morning, and others, Lane is known for her throwback style, catchy songwriting, and powerful stage presence (the highway queen don't need no king). I repeat: Do not miss her—she is a national treasure—just like craft beer and fancy beard oil. Bay Area openers The Mother Hips are a stalwart of West Coast rock, inviting everyone to loosen up and have a little fun (music starts at 7 p.m.). Of course, food will be available for purchase, and those aforementioned 12-ounce pours will be available for $5 while supplies last, including an exclusive collaboration beer by Funkwerks and Firestone Walker. Consider this the first good concert of the summer season and the first of many, many cold beers.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information and tickets, go to Net proceeds from the Kick-Off Concert will benefit Paso Robles Pioneer Day, a nonprofit dedicated to local historic preservation and community engagement. Δ

Hayley Thomas Cain aspires to be a highway queen. She can be reached at

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