Firestone Walker XVII Party – Recap & Pics
The Full Pint returned to Paso Robles, CA this past weekend to help celebrate the 17th Anniversary of Firestone Walker Brewing. It’s a pretty long drive for a three hour party, but we’ve found it’s totally worth it, as Firestone has topped themselves each year.
When we arrived two hours prior to the party, we saw there was already a line. A line of people who had already purchased tickets were that dedicated that they decided to stand in a brisk 55 degree line two hours before the event. Firestone had a check in line and a wait in line line. They also provided complementary coffee from local roasters Joebella Coffee, the folks who put the Black in Black Xantus a few years ago.
As the weather started warm up, it was near 11 am, and the line started moving. We were lead into a newly remodeled area of the brew house, parts of it looked completely different from last years party. Like last year, there were spread out stations of beer paired with food. Unlike XVI, the food was more substantial. While they weren’t serving full on entrees, this was a bit more than finger food. At first we were puzzled as to which stations had what beer. We were quickly directed to the super high ceilings, where Firestone hung clear signs from the rafters. Ha!
We didn’t want to go right for the strong ale, so we got a few tastes of Pivo Pils to get the blood pumping. After all, it was only 11am. For the first time I can remember, there was an actual long line for something. What could it be? Why it was a long line for Firestone XVII and PNC! Luckily, we were distracted by Head Brewer Dustin Kral, our homie til the end, who was setting up the Cornhole tournament. We’ve watched it previous years, but never played. In fact, we’ve never played it at all before. Horse shoes, washers, sure. Cornhole? Never.
Because there’s a first time for everything, we entered the tournament. Dustin graciously filled up a pitcher of Pivo, and were given the house rules to abide by. After a few practice tosses, we began. I don’t see very well, I’m not that athletic, and only fairly competitive, so I didn’t think Team The Full Pint would fare well. Sure enough, Jonny and I won the first round. Our first ever game of Cornhole was a success. We feared for round two, as it was against Dustin himself along with Will, the packaging manager. Surely we’d get whooped by Team Firestone on their home court. By golly, Danny and Jonny Fullpint were sinking those bean bags. Jonny even swished a couple. Amazingly, we beat Dustin and Will to get to the finals. Smiles quickly turned to serious faces when Dustin told us we were up against “Three-Peat”, two fellas that have won the tourney the last three years. We took an ill-advised break for some beer and treats before coming back to the Championship round. At the blink of an eye, we were handily defeated by the three time (now four time) Firestone Walker Cornhole Champions. All in all, we were pretty proud of ourselves, having only 2 games of Cornhole under our belt. Time to drown our sorrows in some beer!
We proceeded to mingle around, graze on food and strong ale. Once the XVII / PNC line died down, we dove into that. The Mu shu crepes at that station were phenomenal. After a few cracks at XVII, we moved along. There was a station pouring the Parabola with Coffee (my fav) and then we spotted a station pouring 14,15 and 16 Anniversary blends. What better way to celebrate than to make some blends of blends. We made the 14/15 blend and the 15/16 blend. Both delicious and ridiculous. After making some new friends and chatting with old friends, it came to an end.
All and all, the day was spot on with perfect weather and perfect beer. We had some food at the Tap Room restaurant, hung out with some friends and retired early that day. For those on the fence about making the trek, I advise attending one of these years.