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 Firestone Walker Brewing Company has reason to celebrate

It’s tiny compared to a lot of its counterparts worldwide, but it’s bringing home HUGE honors. The Firestone Walker Brewery just took home the World Beer Cup for the Best Mid-Size Brewery and Brew-master for an unprecedented fourth time. There were 800 breweries in their category from 54 countries.

The reasons for celebration just keep coming for the gang at Firestone Walker. New awards and accolades, new brews grabbing attention before they even hit store shelves and a new Tap Room in Paso Robles where you can toast this homegrown success story. “It’s not hard to make good beer, you just need to keep it fresh.” says David Walker, half of the Walker Firestone team. When he teamed up with Adam Firestone in 1996, they didn’t set out to compete with the Anheuser Busch and Miller guys, who, by the way, brew a good 90-percent of beer consumed in America. They wanted to make good craft beers to be consumed by people close to home. “Beer is a little bit like milk…closer to the dairy, the better it tastes, little bit like fresh bread so that’s why our beer tastes so good locally” says Walker.

They keep about 4-thousand barrels of beer at their Paso Brewery, which makes Firestone Walker more than a micro-brewery, but kind of a king of the craft brew world. “Who’d have thought it when we started 15 years ago?” says walker as he looks up at one of 8 huge vessels at the brewery which each hold about 500 barrels of beer. “It’s a fabulous feeling.”

80% of all their beer is sold within 100 miles of Paso Robles. “We’ve got close to 60 million people within a days drive of this brewery, that’s a life’s work just getting them enough beer” says Walker. The task gets a bit easier at the tap rooms, the one in Buellton, and the new one next to the brewery in Paso Robles. Because it’s an extension of the brewery, you can only get Firestone beer at the Tap Room, but that does leave you 19 to choose from. They make high octane, or high-gravity beers that are shipped to beer connoisseurs nationwide, but all the rest stay real close to home. “I think it’s the best beer there is.” says Brad Shepherd of Atascadero. “I get bummed when I go up to Northern California or down South and can’t find it, so it’s nice to have it here.”

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