Firestone XVI Anniversary
Since founding our brewery in 1996, we have specialized in the rare art of brewing beer in oak barrels. In the fall of 2006, we released a limited edition oak-aged strong ale called 10 to commemorate our 10th anniversary. The experience was greater than any one of us could have ever imagined. We now present XVI, our seventh release in what has become an annual autumn rite at our brewery.
This beer represents everything that we love about brewing:
Exploration - Over the years we have studied the art of brewing by traveling to far away lands to visit and observe other brewers. Once in a while we get lucky and even get to brew a batch or two while over seas. Seeing and understanding our brewing heritage has been a key to developing our brewing program. We have also stayed close to our brewing and winemaking friends here in the States spending countless hours tasting and observing the magic that IS the American Craft Beer Revolution. Dozens of notebooks, hundreds of questions, thousands of pictures and too many beers to count have resulted in the refinement of our brewing philosophy and our approach to making the best flavors possible. Networking - One of the most amazing elements of the craft brew age is the sharing and networking that continues to fuel this moment. In honor of this phenomenon we hosted three collaborations at our brewery in 2012. A collaboration brew with the Publican National Congress “PNC” where we created a beautiful tequila barrel aged buckwheat stout with some of the best publicans from around the country. A second collaboration with Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller fame in which we created a Saison and utilized local white wine grapes and aged the beer in wine barrels. Our masterpiece was a giant collaboration hosting our first annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest here in our hometown of Paso Robles. The ground rules were simple, the brewers themselves needed to come and pour one session beer and one special beer. We invited some of our very best friends and favorite brewers from around the country and some from outside the States. The talent that arrived and the beers that were shared culminated in one of the very best beer events we have ever experienced. Even more impressive was the willingness of brewers, big and small, to travel to our brewery to share the fruits of their labors. I continue to find that the very best people in the entire world are brewers and the people who love beer. Blending – This beer is a testament to the fact that incredible flavors can be created through blending and that in certain moments with special people and exceptional raw materials, the result of those blends far exceed the sum of their parts. We started back in 1996 by fermenting a single beer in many barrels and blending them together to create Double Barrel Ale. We then embarked on this barrel aged blending project that you taste today, with our winemaker friends. More Barrels - We now have officially launched our next exploration into the unknown with Barrelworks - a project that will incorporate wine barrels and a host of new critters, sparking secondary fermentation flavors, creating a new line of wild barrel aged and blended beers. We are positioning this project in Buellton California in the middle of the Santa Ynez Valley where it all started for us – far enough away from our Paso brewery not to cause our clean beers harm but close enough to allow us to create freely. If that isn’t enough, our 16th year brought with it some additional excitement. This spring we were named Champion Mid-sized Brewer for an unprecedented 4th time at the World Beer Cup!
To have our beers recognized as world class by our peers once again was a humbling proud moment. Our brewery also gave birth to a new German built, Huppmann Brewhouse in 2012. We were able to add some amazing new toys to our kit, like wet milling, hop dosing and automated lautering that will not only allow us to brew more but give us the flexibility to brew even more interesting, technically correct and balanced beers. We also added a beautiful restaurant to our Paso campus so that you can come and break bread with us while visiting the brewery. It was an amazing year of growth and change. Most importantly, our family continues to grow and our team continues to develop. I can’t tell you how proud I am to work with some of the best and hardest working folks you will ever meet. If you haven’t yet, you need to come to Paso and meet our crew!