The new 60-barrel brewhouse reflects Firestone Walker’s mission to continuously perfect the brewing process.
“We are always aiming to make the next brew better than the last,” said co-proprietor Adam Firestone. “The difference may be tiny, but it needs to be measurable and constant. The new brewhouse is our latest investment in this mission.”
The brewhouse occupies a new three-story tower that has been integrated into the front of the brewery building. The tower now serves as the brewery’s primary visual icon and features broad glass walls on two sides of the second story, providing a permanent window into the brewing process.
“Back in my university days, while homebrewing in my garage in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I dreamed of one day having a brewhouse like the ones I had seen while traveling through Europe on foreign study,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “That day has finally arrived.”
Quality and Efficiency
The new brewhouse is the result of extensive research conducted by proprietors Adam Firestone and David Walker, as well as Brynildson and his brewing team. They were ultimately drawn to a company called Huppmann in Kitzingen, Germany, which has been making brewhouses for generations.
“We selected Huppmann for many reasons,” Firestone said. “These involve wort handling, their proprietary wet mill called Millstar, the overall simplicity of the design, the flexibility of the installation, and the technology to marry our existing brewhouse into the new one. The automation package will allow us to precisely replicate each step and track progress unlike ever before.”
The brewhouse was installed with extensive custom features made to meet Brynildson’s vision for maximizing beer quality, including his personal modifications for milling, hop dosing, and kettle efficiency. The new brewhouse equipment allows Brynildson the ultimate flexibility for making every beer style imaginable.
“By the time we got done with it, it essentially became a full-blown custom hot rod brewhouse,” Brynildson said.
The new brewhouse also improves the overall efficiency of the brewing process, in terms of both manpower and resources.
“We elected every option possible to save on energy and water consumption without compromising the quality of our beers,” said Mark Fischer, the brewery’s plant engineer. “We will now be able to brew the same amount of beer using half the amount of energy as before.”
The tower design of the brewhouse is an efficient way to brew beer, using gravity to move ingredients when applicable, and also requiring a smaller footprint.
The new brewhouse tower was designed by local architect Val Milosevic and incorporates design features that honor two iconic structures in the Paso Robles region—the Farmer’s Alliance building in Paso Robles, and the Templeton Feed & Grain building in the nearby hamlet of Templeton.
Both of these buildings are visible testaments to the region’s rich agricultural heritage, and Firestone Walker Brewing Company was inspired to reflect this heritage in the design of its new brewhouse tower.
The brewhouse is adjacent to the brewery’s new visitor center, which features viewing windows into the hop storage room and the brewhouse control room, as well as a tasting bar and retail shop.
The launch of the new brewhouse and visitor center follows Firestone Walker’s recent opening of the adjacent Taproom restaurant and the hosting of the inaugural Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest in Paso Robles in June.
“Our goal is to create a destination experience built around craft beer education and appreciation,” Walker said.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a pioneering regional craft brewery founded in 1996 and located in the Paso Robles wine country on California’s Central Coast. The brewery specializes in iconic pale ales and vintage barrel-aged beers. Firestone Walker Brewing Company was awarded Mid-Sized Brewery of The Year honors at the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Great American Beer Festivals┬« as well as Champion Mid-Sized Brewery honors at the 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012 World Beer Cup┬« competitions.