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Never wine about good beer 

Three cheers for good beers! Firestone Walker Brewery has, for a record fourth year, been named Champion Mid-Sized Brewery and Brewmaster at the 2012 World Beer Cup. Since 2004, Firestone Walker Brewing Company and its brewmaster, Matt Brynildson, have been racking up the accolades at the Beer Cup, even against some stiff competition.

A total of 3,921 beers were entered for judgment on May 1 and 2, with brewers and beer experts coming in from 27 different countries to offer up their beers in sacrifice.

The judging was blind, and 67 percent of the judges came from places outside the United States, which makes the win that much more special for Firestone co-owner David Walker.

“The results speak to the remarkable quality of the U.S. craft beer industry,” he said. “We are proud to be a part of the American craft beer revolution.”

Firestone Walker’s Pale Ale 31 also won the gold medal in the American-Style Pale Ale category.

If that beer news wasn’t enough to get you buzzed, be sure to check out the upcoming Roll Out the Barrels weekend June 21 to 24, which will feature several great wine- and vintner-related events in SLO’s Mission Plaza and Paso Robles.

The event kicks off with Barrels in the Plaza on June 21 with SLO wineries partnering up with local chefs to make wondrous culinary marriages with great local wines.

The most popular part of Roll Out the Barrels is the weekend wine country passport. For $55, you can taste the best wine and food pairings SLO County has to offer. With most wineries charging $10 to $20 per tasting, the passport is a steal, and it offers folks a chance to explore the wine country, get in on some discounts, taste some reserve barrels, and enjoy some great local entertainment.

On June 22, there will be multiple wineries offering up dinners and social events.

Edna Valley will be host to a casual dinner on its barrel pad. The dinner will feature artisan pizzas from Giuseppes’ traveling wood-fired pizza oven, great wines, and live music.

There is plenty to do for Roll Out the Barrels weekend, and while you’re up in Paso Robles sampling great vinos, stop by Firestone Walker taproom and grab one of their award-winning beers and a delicious lunch.

All information about Roll Out the Barrels weekend, including times and ticket prices, can be found on the San Luis Obispo Vintners Association’s website: Remember to booze responsibly and check the website for information on designated driver tickets for the wine events.

Contributor Maeva Considine compiled this week’s column. We want a Bite! Send us your food, wine, and related news at

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