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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Firestone Walker Brewing Company - Barrelworks

The excellent setup for the taps
Nestled in the hills of the Santa Ynez Valley in Buellton California you will find the latest venture for Firestone Walker Brewing Company and a strong candidate for beer nirvana Barrelworks!

The building, which also holds one of the Firestone Walker Taprooms, is perfect location for such an undertaking as sour beer production.  Located 92 miles away from the main brewery in Paso Robles the physical separation lowers the risk of unwanted bugs finding their way into Firestone's core lineup.

Walking in through the side door emblazoned with the Barrelworks logo you are immediately greeted by the hundreds of barrels currently making up Firestone's growing sour program in addition to a large oak fermenter aka foudre.  Just past the foudre you come to the heart of Barrelworks, its tasting room.  It's not the smallest nor the largest tasting room I've been to but it's the perfect size for the intent of Barrelworks, which is to provide explorers with the opportunity to truly sample a large range of oak influenced beers. Having set out to deliver a tasting room experience all pours are limited to reasonably priced 3 oz tasters.

The best part of Barrelworks overall is because they are focused on being a tasting room they are able to put on beers you'd be hard pressed to ever find.  This includes their highly elusive and sought after sour beers, a rotating selection of Proprietor's Reserve Series, some of their Anniversary beers as well as the individual components that go into them. Another cool thing that they are doing is single barrel tasting where they put on beer from a single barrel.  I was able to sample a lot of beers some of which I'd been wanting to try for years.

In my between two trips I was able to try the following.
The taplist
  • Barrel #22 Dry Stout
  • Barrel #66 DDBA
  • Barrel #94 Rufus
  • Barrel Aged Rufus With Brett - Wow. The aroma stopped me mid-sentence while I was talking to the bartender
  • Bravo Barrel Aged Brown Ale
  • Bretta Weisse
  • Helldorado (Cask)
  • Lil' Opal (2013)
  • Parabola (2012)
  • Parabola (2013)
  • Parabola (Cask)
  • Reginald Brett
  • SLO-ambic - FINALLY. I've been wanting to try this for the longest god damn time.
  • Sticky Monkey - One of the last Anniversary components I've never had
  • Velvet Merkin (Cask)

While you can't get a growler fill of SLO-ambic or Sticky Monkey to go you are able to buy beers there. In addition to being able to pick up a couple bottles of the latest release of Parabola, I was given the opportunity (but did not execute on it) to buy all of the latest Proprietor's Reserve Series (Double DBA and Sucaba) as well as various vintages and Anniversary Bottles back to 13. The vintage bottles are vintaged priced which is what affords the ability to keep them available 

In short, my trip to Barrelworks excited my already lofty expectations and you can bet whenever I find myself in Buellton during their hours of operation (Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m) I'll definitely stop by.




The three stages of barrel aged beers
Tasting room shots
Tasting shots
Parabola 2013


  1. Should we make it a mid-day trip Friday before the FW Invitational on Saturday?


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