Introducing Brewmaster’s Reserve from Firestone Walker
As a California resident that lives within walking distance to The Propagator in Venice, I’m stoked about this one. Firestone Walker Brewing Company is launching its first beer club: Brewmaster’s Reserve.
Disclaimer: I’m receiving an honorary membership from Firestone Walker.
I got a chance to chat with Brewmaster Matt Brynildson who mentioned that he pulled inspiration from being in the middle of wine country in Paso Robles, Calif. where every winery basically has some form of club. It’s also something he’s always wanted to do. “We collaborate quite a bit with our winemaker friends, and I’ve always admired how these wine clubs give them a runway to make these really interesting small-batch or one-off wines for those who want them most,” Brynildson said. “It has been in the back of my mind for a long time.”
Here’s Brynildson introducing Brewmaster’s Reserve:
Their annual invitational beer festival has been canceled twice due to the pandemic. I feel them here as an event organizer. Especially as they’re celebrating 25 years of brewing this year. Lost revenue aside (proceeds benefit the Paso Robles Pioneer Day), the loss of the unique community environment created by in-person events is huge. Sharing directly with fans, hanging out with industry friends, celebrating, listening, learning, and collaborating is hard to recreate online.
“The fest has always been an opportunity for us to personally connect with our biggest fans and with those who drive beer culture,” Brynildson said. “World events have really dampened our opportunities for intentional interaction, so we decided it was time to create a new way to connect.”
On top of the social void, they’ve had to pull back from markets and reduce how many new beers that they can release across their distribution footprint. Currently, around 80 percent of Firestone Walker’s distribution is now in its home state. On the flipside, the growth of direct-to-consumer has brought both brewers and consumers new opportunities. So, Brynildson mentioned, a beer club is the “perfect next step” as well as a “creative outlet” for the brewing team, which also includes: Master Blender Jim “Sour Jim” Crooks who leads their Barrelworks location and Barrel Program Managers Eric Ponce who’s basically a master of cocktail and culinary-inspired barrel-aged beer blends.
Brynildson explained, “The most exciting thing for me is that we will be creating a series of exclusive beers that will only be available to club members. This is where we can get decadent and have some fun. Basically, it’s our very best small-lot creations shared directly with the folks who will appreciate them the most!”
Membership will be available for California residents only, and here’s what a $599 (+ tax) annual membership gets you:
- Eight curated collections of small-batch Vintage and Barrelworks releases shipped to your door throughout 2021.
- Collections will span a total of 27 separate beers, including 14 member-only exclusives.
- A Welcome Pack featuring an exclusive welcome beer, Brewmaster’s Reserve Membership Card, commemorative coasters and deck of playing cards.
- Shipping is always included, and each collection will include exclusive glassware selected by Brewmaster Matt Brynildson.
- Each collection will be accompanied by an online guided tasting with the Brewmaster.
And membership has its perks too:
- 15% off beer and merchandise online and in-store.
- 10% off dine-in or take-out at Taproom restaurants in Paso Robles, Buellton and Venice.
- Access to purchase select limited quantity Library beers, as released.
- Early access to online beer releases.
- Opportunity to purchase additional Brewmaster’s Reserve exclusive beer.
Collection Release Calendar:
- Welcome Pack + Parabola Collection (late Feb.)
- Feral Collab Collection (early Apr.)
- Cocktail Collection (late Apr.)
- Wild Fruits Collection (mid-Jun.)
- Big Things Collection (mid-Jul.)
- Terroir Collection (late Sep.)
- Anniversary Collection (late Oct.)
- Black Friday Collection (late Nov.)
Learn more: firestonebeer.com/brewmasters-reserve
What am I most excited about?
- Everything is broken into collections. Gives a sense of purpose and flow.
- Brynildson told me that he’s applying his extensive travel experience in Europe to the glassware that’ll be included in each collection. Not that I need anymore glassware, but looking forward to seeing what he’s come up.
- Learning more about each collection from Brynildson, Crooks, and Ponce during the virtual tastings. They’re all masters at what they do and I’ve enjoyed listening to and learning from all three of them over the years.
- Fourteen of the beers will be exclusive to members and they all sound awesome.
- Using my membership card at The Propagator. It’s stainless steel by the way.
Finally, sign ups start on Friday, Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. PST and will close when all 1,000 slots have been filled.
Good luck! ■