BarrelHouse Brewing Co. opens Saturday in Paso Robles

jrobillard@thetribunenews.comFebruary 22, 2013 

BarrelHouse Brewing Co. in Paso Robles will open Saturday with four of its own brews, a 17-barrel brew house, a bottling operation and a half-acre outdoor beer garden.

The brewery at 3055 Limestone Way, not far off Highway 101, is joining a growing list of at least a dozen craft breweries in San Luis Obispo County. What sets it apart from nearly all but Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles and Tap It Brewing in San Luis Obispo is its ambitious brewing and distribution goals.

The BarrelHouse facility has the capacity to brew 10,000 barrels a year — which is more than most craft brewers in the county — and it features a bottling system that can fill 22-ounce bottles as well as produce six packs of 12-ounce bottles. It also will distribute in kegs.

Behind the project is a trio of home brewers, longtime friends and Central Valley natives wanting to make a living brewing beer and to tap into Paso Robles’ draw as a centralized location.

“We are definitely all in” with the endeavor, said Jason Carvalho, co-founder, president and lead brewer. “It’s been full speed ahead.”

Carvalho aims to introduce a new style of beer made in small batches every few weeks, and Barrelhouse will serve only its own beers on the 20 taps in the bar at the Limestone Way facility.

“We’re also going to be doing a lot of distribution,” said Carvalho, a 2002 Cal Poly graduate. “We’re going to be out there in a lot of different packages offering a lot of varieties.”

Rounding out the team is Kevin Nickell, co-founder and vice president, and Chris Vaughn, director of marketing and distribution.

The idea for BarrelHouse was born during homebrew sessions in Carvalho’s garage in Orcutt, and the search for supplies and a location began more than a year ago. Carvalho found 15-year-old “turnkey brewery equipment” in Toronto and shipped it to Paso Robles. After that, work got started on turning the 15,000-square-foot building into a brewery.

Carvalho and Nickell, who lives in Hanford, also own a construction business in the Central Valley, which gave them access to materials to pull off the extensive construction.

“We did everything ourselves,” Carvalho said. “We designed the brewery. We did all the architecture. The layout. Everything. And we built out of salvaged material. We tried to create something different.”

Old redwood from a barn they took down in Fresno was used for tables and trim. Bricks from a demolished home now adorn sections of the brewery’s walls. A 1933 Dodge was salvaged and its flatbed turned into a stage for entertainment in the beer garden.

While food trucks will be welcome, BarrelHouse has no plans to offer its own food.

Carvalho would not disclose the amount invested in the project. The brewery has six employees and plans to hire three more.

The team hopes to outgrow the facility, which is leased, in five years; however, Carvalho said, the brewery won’t leave the Central Coast.

Saturday’s grand opening event runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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