Jeff’s parents were in town this weekend, so we decided this would be the perfect time to head back to the Firestone Brewery and try to actually catch the tour this time (not to mention a beer or two!).
Jeff and I have toured both Sierra Nevada (in Chico) and Lagunitas (in Petaluma), but it’s always fun to tour new breweries and see the different philosophies and techniques at each brewery. Plus, as a homebrewer, Jeff always loves to see the fancy equipment!
The tour guide was super knowledgable and took the 6 of us around the back to see the brewing equipment and the bottling and packaging line. One of the most interesting things on the tour was learning about how some of their beers, like the SLO favorite DBA, are actually aged for a period of time in oak barrels like wine. We had the opportunity to taste the DBA right out of the barrel while on the tour and it was definitely oaky!
I always find it fascinating to learn about the water filtration systems at all of the breweries because water quality and mineral content can strongly alter the taste of the beer. At Firestone, they have to neutralize the Paso Robles city water in order to use it for normal brewing, but when they brew speciality beers like German pilsners, they actually simulate the mineral content you would find at a German brewery. At Sierra Nevada, they actually filter enough water into the brewery that they sell a lot of it back to the city for public use!
After the tour, we filled up our growler (of course ;)) then headed back for SLO.
Can you tell we’re beer nerds?