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Firestone Walker reveals the first beer from its experimental brewery

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s Fortem, on draft and in four packs of 16-ounce cans, is available at all Firestone locations and other outlets around the Central Coast.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s Fortem, on draft and in four packs of 16-ounce cans, is available at all Firestone locations and other outlets around the Central Coast.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. has something new for fans who’ve been mourning the loss of Double Jack and other specialty beers.

The Paso Robles-based brewery has launched distribution of the first line of beers originating from its Propagator — a brewhouse for experimental beers — in Venice.

The Leo v. Ursus chronology will showcase the versatility the new facility affords, featuring a new limited release each quarter as the previous beer is retired.

“Until the Propagator came along, our ability to experiment and go crazy with tiny batches was limited,” Firestone Walker’s brewmaster Matt Brynildson said. “The shackles are now off.”

The Propagator is designed to brew small, nimble batches that allow for quick and easy experimentation not possible in the main production brewery in Paso Robles. The best of those experiments can then be fine-tuned and scaled for production in Paso Robles.

“Leo v. Ursus opens the door to increased creativity with new and exciting raw materials,” Brynildson said.

The first release, Fortem, is a bold but balanced unfiltered imperial IPA. Future brews will explore new hop cultivars, dark malts and alternative grains, Brynildson said, along with some customer requests.

The new line — which fans will recognize as an updated version of the Lion & Bear series representing founders David Walker (the lion) and Adam Firestone (the bear) — comes several months after the brewery discontinued its longtime Proprietors Reserve line, which included the popular Wookey Jack.

Fortem, on draft and in four packs of 16-ounce cans, is available at all Firestone locations and other outlets around the Central Coast, and it is spreading across the country before yielding to the next release.

Sally Buffalo writes about wine, beer and spirits. Reach her at sallybuffalo@gmail.com or on Twitter @sallybuffalo.

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