During my last visit to Atascadero, I took a tour of Firestone Walker Brewing Company. While it was fun just seeing the home of my favorite happy hour beer – the Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale – I was disappointed by the conspicuous absence of any beer actually being brewed or even bottled, leaving much to be desired in the way of captivatingly detailed tour guide spiels. This time the tour was far from lackluster.
The brewery was in full swing, a-hum with boiling, fermenting, pouring, bottling and labeling. We traveled through the exciting life of their beers from raw hops to the delicious libation we all know and love. Firestone Walker uses only three different yeast strains to make a variety of ales, lagers, and barleywines. My beloved DBA is created using a double-barrel fermenting process. This means its fermentation time is split between the oak barrels of Firestone Walker’s union brewing system (one of only two in the world) and the towering stainless steel tanks behind them. The brewery’s packaging process is no joke either; these machines can bottle 300 bottles per minute and fill up to 60 kegs each hour. At the end I had the unique delight of enjoying a crisp pint of unfiltered DBA, which is only available in their tasting room.
Beer continued to be the theme well into the evening as we took in a showing of Star Trek: Into the Darkness at Galaxy Theatres in Atascadero. No, there was no brown-bagging involved. This was no ordinary movie theater. It had a separate 21+ VIP wing, complete with a bar and lounge area. I took the opportunity to try the Firestone Walker 805 here (pints were only $6.00!). Nachos, popcorn and glasses of beer firmly in hand, we settled into remarkably comfortable oversized seats for the much-anticipated J.J. Abrams sequel. I must say, I was quite impressed by the comfort and cleanliness of this theatre. The movie…well, you’ll have to see it for yourself to find out. Live long and prosper, readers. Live long and prosper.