I’ve been a Washingtonian for nearly 20 years now. I love the Washington craft beer scene and the plethora of wonderful craft breweries in the state, but some of my favorite breweries are still from California. One such brewery is Firestone Walker Brewing Company out of Paso Robles, CA.
Each year since their 10th Anniversary, Firestone Walker has released a special Anniversary Ale. They hold an annual blending session, with both brewers and winemakers in attendance, in order to craft the perfect blend for each year’s Anniversary Ale offering. Now, Firestone Walker is preparing to release the latest version: XXI Anniversary Ale.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company got it’s start back in 1996, when they brewed their very first beer in a small facility rented from the Firestone Vineyard estate in Santa Barbara County, California. Five years later, in 2001, Adam Firestone and David Walker purchased the SLO Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California. They’ve been going strong ever since, creating one World class beer after another. Many of their beers are fermented using their unique Firestone Union system (inspired by the Burton Union systems invented by English brewers back in the 1830’s-40’s). This is a unique method of fermentation and, to Firestone Walker’s knowledge, is not currently being utilizied by any other brewery in the U.S.
The Firestone Union System
Firestone Walker is also known for their skill at the art of blending beers. Many of their offerings, such as Parabola, Velvet Merlin, §ucaba and many more are blends of several different beers. Some of these beers are special ones Firestone Walker brews just for blending purposes and are not packaged or generally available to the public (though you may be able to try a few at the brewery).