Recently, Rob gave a brief overview of beer blending, describing different draft-beer blends you can get at local breweries and beer bars. As an aside, he mentioned craft breweries that experimentally blend. This trend is growing in popularity, and one of the best at it is Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, California. Beginning next week, three local beer bars are hosting Firestone XIV Anniversary Release Parties, where you can sample blended beer at its best, and even take home a bottle or two.
Firestone Walker was founded in 1996 in Southern California wine country. Co-founder Adam Firestone wanted to apply his family's wine industry experience to brewing and ferment beers in oak barrels. This led to the installation of a union system modeled on the famous Burton union system of Bass Breweries in Burton-on-Trent, England. A natural progression lead to a barrel aging program. A barrel-aging program leads to a reserve series of beers, some of which end up in blended offerings. Last year's anniversary beer, Firestone Walker 13, was a blend of six different beers, presented in a boxed 22-oz bottle including a fact sheet describing the blending process and beers in the final blend.
Lead by head brewer Matt Brynildson, the Firestone Walker brewing team has won numerous awards including mid-size brewer of the year at the 2004, 2006 and 2010 World Beer Cups and 2007 Great American Beer Festival. Building on the Firestone wine tradition, Brynildson leads a team of brewers and wine makers in the blending process, deciding on which beers to include and the proportions. If the quality of 13 is anything to go on, you should definitely try to make it to one of the 14th Anniversary release parties.
Firestone Walker XIV Anniversary Release Parties
November 11, 6-8pm
On Draft: Anniv. XIV, Double Jack IIPA, Merlin CASK, Union Jack
Bottles: Anniv XIV for sale
November 12, 7:30-9:30pm
On Draft: Double Jack IIPA, Union Jack, Hemp, Merlin, Oaktoberfest, Anniv. XIV, UDBA CASK
Bottles: Anniv. XIV
November 18, 8-10pm
On Draft: Double Jack IIPA, Union Jack, Merlin
Bottles: DBA, Anniv. XIV