Firestone Walker XVI Party – Recap W/ Pics
Three years ago, I took my family up to Firestone Walker to celebrate their 13th Anniversary in Paso Robles, CA. I love it up there dearly, but it’s a far drive. I decided to make the trek this year, and in Jonny Fullpint’s place was BIG Jay. Southern California folks may know Jay, as he is the big loud Viking that used to work at Naja’s Place. We decided to go up the night before and stay near by the brewery so we could have some fun.
Leading up to the Party
Folks began lining up at the brewery at 8 am for the 11am event. At the first pass, there seemed at most 20 people. After going to breakfast, the line was nearly 100 people. By 10 am it was down the sidewalk. While there was no entrance fee to get in, there was a requirement of a 3 bottle purchase of the Sixteenth Anniversary Ale. I’d say bottles are far more delicious than tickets.
Jay and I got “back stage” passes to check out the setup and see what would be in store at the stroke of 11am. I’d like to mention, the facility has morphed so much since my visit 3 years ago, I might has well have been in a brand new brewery. Spread out in key locations were pairing stations. Basically the components of the Anniversary blend were poured and paired with cheeses, chocolate goods, and more. There were no tickets and no tabbed bracelets. It was all you could sample of their strong ales, a few of their non-strong ales, tapas type food, and a gigantic pan of paella to help soak up this high alcohol goodness.
Let the Party Begin
The staff at the party thought there was near 400 people in line, we thought the brewhouse turned party hall would be elbow to elbow. That was not the case at all. There was no wait for anything. People were all smiles as they got to try XVI, Stickee Monkee, Heldorado,Parabola, Barrel Aged Merkin,Wookey Jack and for us super dorks, PNC. PNC was the talk of the town for a few reasons. First off, this beer hasn’t been poured before. Secondly, it’s a buckwheat stout aged in tequila barrels. Needless to say, PNC was one of the most unique stouts I’ve had the privilege of trying.
After grazing on beer and tapas for the first 30 minutes, I realized it was going to be a long day. Naturally, as the party went on, smiles got bigger and voices got louder. Attendees were able to get an intimate tour from one of the key members of Firestone Walker, including Brewmaster Matt, David Walker and Jeffers Richardson.
We mingled with old friends and new, and even started to create our own blend with some of the component ales being poured. I highly suggest you try that if you go to this one year.
Luckily 2pm arrived, and I could tell another hour of that would be dangerous. We headed across the street to the Tap Room to wind down a bit and get our bearings. On paper, a 3 hour party seems short, but a party that starts at 11am pouring strong barrel aged beer is just the perfect length of time to have a ton of fun.
Brewmaster Dustin, Veronica, Jamie,David, Ms. @FirestoneWalker and Jeffers!
iPhotography by Big Jay!