Firestone Walker eyeing Texas market, Velvet Merkin in 2013


(Paso Robles, CA) – Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Brewmaster, Matt Brynildson, shared some news with Beer Geek Nation during GABF week. Some notes from the video below…

If all goes well, Firestone Walker will expand distribution to Texas in 2013, likely first to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. No other markets were named. The company tweeted on Friday that beers would eventually reach Austin as well.

The local territory (surrounding the home base of Paso Robles) is still growing at a clip of 20% each year so the company will continue to be methodical about how they go about expanding the footprint.

The expanded distribution comes thanks to a newly-installed brewhouse, complete with capabilities like wet milling, automated lautering, hop dosing and sugar dosing. They are doing the same size batches as before though they can now do up to sixteen brews a day.

More news for 2013…Firestone Walker plans to release Velvet Merkin in bottles next year. No hints as to whether it will be renamed prior to wide release. It is a 100% barrel-aged version of Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout. They hope to release Stickee Monkee on its own in 2014 as well. Both beers have recently been used in the Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale blend.

There are also some developments at Barrelworks in Buellton. Quality Manager, Jim Crooks, is managing the program along with the original Firestone Walker Brewmaster, Jeffers Richardson, who has returned to the company to help keep an eye on things there.

The team has already filled 300 barrels so far. The brewery is working on three beers: Little Opal, Sloambic Ale and Agrestic Ale. Little Opal is a low-alcohol saison off of which the company plans to experiment with some different treatments (adding fruit, etc.). Agrestic Ale is DBA inoculated with Brettanomyces and could become a cornerstone of the program. It comes from the same mold as beers like Orval. Look for some wild ales to come out on draft next year.

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