Monday, March 4, 2013

Winter 2013 -- West Coast -- Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles / 冬2013 -- 西海岸 --、ファイアーストーン ウォーカー ブリューイング, パソローバルズ

I grew up in San Luis Obispo, just over the grade to the south of Paso Robles. In those days, there were very few wineries in the area. They were mostly small, local operations run by Italian-American families. The main one that I remember was Rotta.

Now, of course, the large swaths of the Central Coast are overrun by grapes, and the wine and wine tour business is visible everywhere there. One of the earliest of these was Firestone Vineyards in Los Olivos, whose owner's son and son-in-law founded Firestone Walker Brewing Company. From the get-go, Firestone Walker's beers have won numerous awards, including World Beer Cup champion for mid-sized breweries in 2004, 2006 and 2010 -- for which there were surely many competitors.

The brewery is just off Highway 101 (Ramada Drive), a few miles south of Paso Robles proper. Their large taproom stand right in front of the brewery. It features a massive dining/bar area, with booths, large tables, and a wacky U-shaped bar with a funny revolving faux bottling line of blinking bottles passing overhead. The decor is sort of modern/industrial, with metal sheet ceilings, a slick cement floor, and aluminium "Diamond Plate" (that bright silver material used for fancy-dancy pickup truck storage boxes) halfway up the wooden walls.

They had 15 beers on tap, along with several local wines. The staff was knowledgeable about the beer they served and were fairly friendly, too -- but perhaps a tad too rushed, even though the place was not really all that crowded. I have read about poor service at this taproom. But our server was pretty good. However, another one sat right outside our window, chatting away on her cell phone for quite some time.

The food was good, too: we had tortilla soup, fish tacos, and jicama salad.

The beers on draught are in all great condition: fresh as can be and served at proper temperatures, and they are much much better than FW stuff in bottles. You can order flights of four generous samplers or individual beers, as you like. Anything from the Reserve series is definitely worth trying. I had a sampler flight of the following four: Pivo Pils, Taproom IPA, Walker's Reserve Robust Porter, and 2012 Double DBA.

They also have "Library" sales -- bottles of earlier vintages for consumption on premises only, this to prevent high-priced resales on eBay, etc.

 Wish I’d had more time here. I certainly do plan on going back.

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget to mention I got a T-shirt at Ladyface Ale Companie and a snifter here for you. And, and, and, two beer glasses in Santa Monica! I'll try not to break one any more...(gomen)