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Firestone Walker, Russian River team up to brew special beer for Paso festival

Jim Crooks, who brews for Firestone Walker Brewing Co’s Barrelworks, pours Feral Vinifera into the glasses of waiting fans, at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest on Saturday, May 30, 2015, at the Paso Robles Event Center.
Jim Crooks, who brews for Firestone Walker Brewing Co’s Barrelworks, pours Feral Vinifera into the glasses of waiting fans, at the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest on Saturday, May 30, 2015, at the Paso Robles Event Center. jrobillard@thetribunenews.com

Locals who missed out on getting tickets to the sold-out Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest in Paso Robles on Saturday can still get a taste of the event.

The festival’s commemorative beer that’s traditionally been exclusive to the annual festival will be available for a limited time on draft at the brewery on Ramada Drive in Paso Robles as well as at various locations on the Central Coast after Saturday.

This year’s commemorative festival beer, a pilsner, is a collaboration with another influential California brewery: Russian River Brewing Co. STiVO Keller Pils is a mashup of Russian River’s STS and Firestone’s Pivo, both pilsners made with new hop varieties from Europe.

“This beer has been 10 years in the making,” said Firestone brewmaster Matt Brynildson, who teamed up with Russian River owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo to create the beer. “Vinnie and I respect each other immensely as brewers, but more important, we’re good friends.”

The Firestone beer festival, now in its fifth year, has some of the most sought-after tickets for beer events nationwide. It draws more than 1,500 out-of-county guests to the Central Coast and is attended by more than 3,000 people. Tickets sold out in less than a minute when they went on sale in February.

The third annual Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest was held Saturday, May 31, 2014, in Pioneer Town at the Paso Robles Event Center.

More than 50 international breweries pour at the event at the Paso Robles Event Center, including high-profile U.S. craft breweries such as Wicked Weed Brewing Co. of North Carolina, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Delaware and New Belgium Brewing Co. of Colorado.

Net proceeds from the event benefit Paso Robles Pioneer Day.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co., the 13th largest craft brewery in the U.S., was founded in Santa Barbara County in 1996 and opened in Paso Robles in 2001. It also has operations in Buellton and Venice Beach. Firestone Walker recently combined its operations with Belgium-based brewery Duvel Moortgat, which committed capital to help the local brewery grow.

Jennifer Robillard: 805-781-7888, @mindbodyvoice

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