Paso Robles, California, is known for its rich culture of winemaking. The spirit and innovation inherent in that tradition have been fused with Old World styles to create the beer at Firestone Walker Brewing Company and the results are impressive, to say the least. We had a chat with our friends on the Central Coast to find out what else this thriving brewery is all about.
What is Firestone Walker known for in the beer world and what sets it apart in an extremely crowded market?
That’s really for others to decide. We can only say that we have been very purposeful about the beers we make and how we make them, and so far, so good.
What are the values that drive the Firestone Walker?
Simply put, the relentless pursuit of the perfect beer, and creating a uniquely passionate brewery culture along the way.
If someone has never experienced Firestone Walker beers, what are the three must tries?
Tough call, but let’s start with DBA, the flagship British-style pale ale that started it all for us in 1996, and that could now be considered timeless. In fact, it won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival just a couple weeks back.
Also, Pivo—a trailblazing hoppy pilsner that we launched in 2013, and that helped pave the way for the burgeoning craft pilsner movement.
Finally, Luponic Distortion, our revolving hop series launched earlier this year. Luponic Distortion has been perhaps our most meteoric beer to date. It revolves every 90 days with a different blend of hops, with an emphasis on the new wave of experimental hop cultivars. Drink it fresh, and watch out for the next.
We've heard a thing or two about an event called the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest. Can you tell us a little more about it and what makes it so great?
The answer is aptly summed up by Brewmaster Matt Brynildson: “The Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest was born from a dream of creating a world-class festival featuring not only the best brewers in the world but brewers whom we feel are leaders in the craft beer revolution. This is a day where we can all put down our sales and marketing pitches and simply commune and share our beers and stories with people who are truly interested in craft beer.”
This event is all about community, among the attending brewers and with craft beer drinkers, and we are honored that it is today considered one of the nation’s top beer festivals.
What sustainability initiatives has Firestone Walker implemented to date and what others does it have planned for the future?
We have always been driven by the pursuit of the perfect beer—from our brewery culture and brewing team to our ingredients and operations. This means investing in state-of-the-art equipment that is inherently efficient with more sustainable outcomes. We are currently in the midst of a brewhouse expansion that will be completed in 2017. Features will include new energy recovery systems that will substantially reduce energy use.
Why did Firestone choose to work with Klean Kanteen?
Klean Kanteen is a family-run company that makes industry-leading products, several of which facilitate craft beer enjoyment. Needless to say, there is a firm sense of kinship!
What else should people know about Firestone Walker?
This year marks the 20th anniversary since our founding by brothers-in-law Adam Firestone and David Walker in 1996. This November, we will release XX—a barrel-aged anniversary strong ale blended with guiding input from local winemakers. It’s a limited release, but worth seeking out. As we fondly look back, we are also charging ahead, and we are set to unveil some new benchmark beers in 2017. Stay tuned!