Firestone Walker Brewing Co. built on the success of their Buellton taproom by adding a Barrelworks, for which brewmaster Matt Brynildson and master blender Sour Jim Crooks developed “wild oak fermented and aged creations.” The “cathedral” of barrels now falls under the auspices of Barrelworks Director and O.G. Firestone Walker brewmaster Jeffers Richardson. Basically, Buellton just became much more of a craft beer destination. However, a visit to the Barrelworks still requires proper timing. The glass-fronted room in a barn-like space rife with corrugated metal is only open for select hours on Friday, Saturday, and Saturday. We did not arrive within that window, but I was still able to enjoy quality beers at the Firestone Walker taproom bar, a testament to the brewery’s depth.
My off-menu Double DBA arrived in an 8-ounce snifter, and the brown brew, a 12% ABV Imperial special bitter ale with deceptively strong punch, had a malty backbone and some nice spice from resting in American oak barrels. Who knows. Maybe Sour Opal or Barrel #22 would have coalesced more complexity, but while I was drinking Double DBA, it didn’t matter what was off-limits beyond the glass in the Barrelworks.