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The Lion The Bear and Their Beer    

  by Edward F. Petersen

We at americanpublichousereview.com like to give you the story along with our presentation of a worthy establishment. Indeed pubs, bars, taverns and breweries are made of stories as much as they are constructed of wood, brick, stone and spirits. In some cases it's the history which is paramount, in others it's a personality, a palpable mystery, or even a sincere conviction as to a ghostly haunting. The story which comes included with your trip to Firestone Walker Brewing Company and your draughts of its fine pale ale is the brewpub's whereabouts on this the sun's most exquisite birdie.

Nothing can prepare you for the stunning beauty of San Luis Obispo County in California. The seascapes are canvas worthy, the climate is friendly and the gentle rolling hills are sublime. I wholeheartedly recommend a visit if you’ve never been. Bring an extra memory card or two for your camera though because just when you’ve exhausted one on a truly magnificent vista, you round a bend to another even more amazing.

Near paso Robles as seen in American Public House  Review
The hills near Paso Robles

courtesy of http://www.labellasera.com      
Hill near Paso Robles as seen in American Public House Review
Paso Robles is wine country

I recently attended a family wedding which took place just outside of Cambria, California, a quaint and lovely little coastal town. You’ll pass through it on a road trip up California Route 1 from the city of San Luis Obispo to Carmel Bay. By the way, put that sojourn on your bucket list too. You’ll ogle wildly carved cliffs, the blue-green drink of the Pacific, sea lions, whales and even an American castle. We established camp in Cambria where each day was a metaphor of morning fog sunburning off into colors you may have never even noticed before. There are certain places the attendance of which elicit peace. This be one of those . . . Oh yes, I could go on and on, but ya con't drrrink scenerrry, so on we go to Firestone Walker which is in the enchanting neighborhood and of the essence to this here communion.

Cambria, California as seen in American Public House Review
Cambria, California

View from California Route1 as seen in American Public House Review
View from California Route 1

I had indulged freely in Firestone Beers before which are delicious to say the least and so was thrilled when we negotiated a stop at their brewery and taproom.

Firestone Brewery and Taproom in paso Robles California as seen in American Public House Review
Outside the brewery

Firestone taproom in Paso Robles, California as seen in American Public House Review
Taproom entrance

Brothers in law, Adam Firestone aka the bear and David Walker aka the lion founded the brewery in 1996. They brewed their first beer in a small facility rented from the Firestone Vineyard Estate in Santa Barbara County. In 2001 they moved to the large brewing and serving compound in Paso Robles and have been growing ever since. Firestone and Walker initially concentrated on pale ales fermented in oak barrels. This British style still flavors their whole operation, but they have expanded into a wide variety of finely crafted beers. The FW brew crew under Brewmaster, Matt Brynildson have won Mid Size Brewery of the Year four times in their young yet venerable existence.

courtesy of http://www.firestonebeer.com     
Adam Firestone, Matt Brynildson and David Walker of Firestone Wlalker Brewing Company as seen in American Public House Review
The Bear, The Brewmaster and The Lion: Adam Firestone, Matt Brynildson and David Walker

The enterprise is a just right concoction of production and hospitality. The Taproom which expresses itself in what I call, "Brewpub Modern" with its exposed plumbing and HVAC, its bare copper and corrugated steel is hard connected to the brewery so it serves beer as fresh as it comes in the manner of the offerings at a fine seafood restaurant which is right there on the dock a clam shell toss from the fishing boats.

Photo by Edward F Petersen       
The bar at Firestone Walker brewing Comapy in Paso Robles California as seen in American Public House Review

courtesy of http://blog.805living.com      
The Taproom at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles California as seen in American Public House Review

12 family members and one Roman Catholic priest settled into the comfy chairs along an extended table at 3:00 in the afternoon which is the eye of the food service storm so to speak. I prefer the bar, but we were indeed a hoard with kids attached. I can't remember what everyone ordered, but I do recall the Maple Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich - a selection of truffle melted cheeses with tomato on toasted brioche as being a particular smash. I chose the BBQ Smoked Brisket on a potato bun which hit the spot perfectly. And Father Tony declared his onion rings to be among the best he'd ever had. As for the beers, I sipped a Pale 31 because I was driving, it being more spare in ABV than many. This flagship pale ale was rich and chock full of flavor belying its lower octane. The champ of the session however was the Union Jack IPA, a beer I've sampled many times and indeed chanced a wee nip that afternoon as well. All I can say is if you're a hop head, you will absolutely love this beer. Everflowing from the taps and fresh from right next door, it's one heavenly elixir.

Refreshed and repasted we perused the gift shop. I purchased two souvenir t-shirts for colleagues back home and we hastened on to a winery which was part of the bargain we made with those grape aficionados in our group . . . But that would be potation for another story.


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