Feeling a little disillusioned with my beer experiences thus far I assumed that I had wrapped up my brewery visits for this vacation. As such, we decided to take the scenic coast drive through Northern California on the way back home.
As we turned onto the highway at Paso Robles I spotted a large building adorned with the logo of Firestone Walker Brewing Company. One quick u-turn and we found ourselves on an unscheduled visit to the taproom of a rather impressive brewery – in size, in scale and in beer selection.
Now Firestone Walker is no micro-brewery as such, when you visit be prepared for the full-treatment; huge taproom and restaurant, brewery on premise, complimentary brewery tours, visitor centre, bottles circling on a conveyor belt in the taproom and lots of swag.
We decided to focus on the taproom exclusives so we could sample from a diverse swath of their line-up – for those on an extended visit and with some cash to burn they also have a nice selection of vintage bottles for order.
Some of our favourites were the unfiltered DBA Double Barrel Ale (I liked this so much I brought some bottles of the regular DBA home), the Walker’s Reserve Porter, which was great for those who like their porters on the cold coffee side, the Double DBA, which was a big boozy barrel-aged version of the DBA and the Velvet Merlin, a nice clean oatmeal stout that is light bodied enough to be enjoyed in the California sunshine.
An unplanned stop but a redemptive one that had me in much better beer spirits AND I brought home two really nice pils glasses to enjoy for the rest of summer!