Leading beer authority Paste Magazine has named Firestone Walker Brewing Company to the top of its list of “The 50 Best American Breweries of The Decade,” spanning the period of 2010 to 2019.
The rankings can be viewed here. *Firestone’s write-up is on the second page.
As a lifestyle outlet renowned for its craft beer coverage, Paste reviewed an exhaustive list of candidates and ranked the top 50 breweries. The judging criteria included factors such as consistency, innovation, community and staying power. The final list reflected intensive input from Paste writers and editors, and the feature story was written by longtime Paste beer correspondent Jim Vorel.
Wrote Vorel, “They (Firestone Walker) have been deeply influential on multiple aspects of the industry, from barrel-aged stouts to the shape of modern pilsner…Their consistency is nearly unrivaled. All of these things make for the most consistently outstanding brewery of the decade.”
Vorel added, “On the beer side of the equation, Firestone has the unique distinction of having a top-tier example of nearly every popular style…No other brewery explores so many different avenues, while doing them all equally well.”
Paste also had high praise for the brewery’s Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest, an annual local event that benefits Paso Robles Pioneer Day: “The Firestone Walker Invitational…helped to alter the very DNA of how beer festivals were planned and attended in the U.S…keeping the idea of ‘beer fests’ relevant as we progressed into the second half of the decade.”
Firestone Walker simply makes too many good beers to stop at three, and that’s an obvious element of why they find themselves here at #1. – Jim Vorel, Paste Magazine
According to Paste, writers and editors sat down to discuss various nominees for inclusion, and settled on the basic criteria below as the driving force behind our selections:
— How strong is the brewery’s beer game today, and how strong has it been throughout the decade? To truly be an assessment of the best breweries of the entire decade, we have to attempt to weight contribution made at the beginning of the 2010s the same as we would contributions made toward the end of the decade.
— How consistent was the brewery during the decade?
— In what areas did the brewery innovate during the decade? What kind of role did they place in the emergence of new styles, or the evolution of old ones?
— How important was the brewery to its local beer community, or to the larger craft beer sphere? What X factors might come into play with this particular brewery that increases or decreases our esteem for them?
— Ultimately, we decided that in order to qualify for this list, a brewery had to (in almost every case) have been around for at least half the decade, in order to truly make its impact. And if a brewery was founded in 2015, it had to make that much more impact in a shorter period, in order to truly distinguish itself.
Read the full article here.
Our second decade was better than our first, as it should be, and here’s hoping our third is better than our second. I’m so very proud to be part of building this with all of these talented folks. – David Walker