There’s a new brew on the block as California’s Firestone Walker Brewing made its highly anticipated Chicago debut last night at Piece Brewery and Pizzeria. Knowingly entering an already thriving craft beer community, Firestone Walker poured just three samples from their barrel-aged Proprietor’s Reserve line, an Anniversary 14, Walker’s Reserve Porter, and Double Jack IPA, which will only be available on tap and bottled at gourmet restaurants and select bars. A purely “not-so-strategical” approach according to co-founder David Walker.
“The beer community in Chicago is intense and socially networked,” said Walker. “They know we’re here, they know where the beers are, and they’ll try them and they’ll drink them, that’s our strategy.” Considering Firestone Walker’s Brewmaster, Matt Brynildson’s strong ties to Chicago, that shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. A founding partner in Piece and former head brewer at Goose Island, Brynildson is “ecstatic” with the Chicago launch, said Walker, and his friends, Nick Floyd of Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, Indiana, and former Firestone colleague Jim Cibak of Revolution came out in support and celebration. “It’s great to be here,” said Cibak, who has already been tapped by Walker for a future collaboration.
With no other goals at the present time than to just service and add spice to the market, Walker said he is confidant Chicagoans will embrace the limited brews. “People have wanted us here for awhile, so we’re not too worried about the beer just sitting around.”