The Taproom restaurant opens in Paso Robles

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.'s new restaurant boasts regional ingredients and fuses company’s beer into recipes

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comMarch 14, 2012 

A new eatery with local beers on tap and regional ingredients on the grill is set to open tonight in Paso Robles.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s newest local addition, The Taproom, is now complete at 1400 Ramada Drive next to the company’s brewery tasting room.

Open daily from 5 to 9 p.m., the restaurant features a dinner menu with grilled meats, fish, salads and wood-oven pizzas in 7,500 square feet.

The restaurant, staffed with 64 employees, will also have themed nightly deals such as pasta specials on Mondays and steak specials on Saturdays.

Firestone Walker Brewing, the largest beer-making operation in Paso Robles, has another restaurant and warehouse in Buellton, but officials say the majority of their approximately 100 employees are based out of Paso Robles.

The company established its brewery in 1996 in Santa Barbara County and expanded to Paso Robles in 2001.

While the business declined to disclose its annual revenue and income, in 2010, it reported annual production of about a million cases of beer.

Among its accolades are the Mid-Sized Brewery of the Year honor at the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Great American Beer Festivals as well as the Champion Mid-Sized Brewery honor at the 2004, 2006 and 2010 World Beer Cup competitions.

In Paso Robles, the business has traditionally served light fare at its beer tasting room, but owners Adam Firestone and David Walker decided to expand to reflect their popular Taproom Restaurant in the Santa Ynez Valley.

“The Taproom is an extension of our brewing philosophy — the finest and freshest ingredients, prepared with care and presented from a distinctively regional perspective,” Firestone said in a statement.

Local businesses Windrose Farm, Thomas Hill Organics, Olea Farm Olive Oil and Joebella Coffee Roasters are among the area businesses that supply ingredients for the menu. There are also local wines available.

Components from the brewing process can also be found in some dishes, such as spent grains in the pizza crusts and beer honey served with appetizers. Firestone Walker brews will also be used in the brine for grilled pork chops and short ribs as well as in a mustard glaze.

“The motto at the brewery is ‘fresh and local,’ and we want that to be reflected in our dishes and wine list as well,” General Manager Rob Giesler said.

The space offers booths and tables, as well as long-table seating, in an atmosphere designed with brushed steel, corrugated metal, rustic wood and copper details. There’s also an outdoor patio.

To further the brewery theme, an old tank was installed for an entrance to the restrooms and an original Firestone Union oak barrel brewing system is mounted on a far wall inside the restaurant.

Pismo Beach architect Val Milosevic transformed the space from an old industrial building.

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