Two breweries, both well known for its quality and innovation, have come together on a new collaboration beer, California pFriemin’. This collaboration from Firestone Walker Brewing and pFriem Family Brewers is in very limited release, but one that is worth the effort to seek out!
“For more than two decades, Firestone Walker has been a leader in the craft beer industry,” said pFriem Co-Founder and Brewmaster, Josh Pfriem, in a statement. “We’ve long admired their commitment to quality, innovation, and the culture they are helping to promote in the brewing community. Partnering with them on a special release was a natural fit and we’re excited to share this beer with our members.”
“Working with pFriem Family Brewers has long been a goal of ours,” said Matt Brynildson, Firestone Walker’s Brewmaster, in a statement. “From the small riverside town of Hood River, Oregon, Josh Pfriem has quietly been taking the beer world by storm with his brewing mastery. Brewing Belgian styles are one of pFriem’s signatures, so brewing a mixed-fermentation Saison with them seemed fitting.”
This collaboration was originally set to take place in 2020, but with the pandemic the project was placed on hold. Two years later, this collaboration started to become a reality.
In February 2022. Josh Pfriem traveled to Firestone Walker’s Propagator, its R&D brewery located near Venice Beach, California, where he met with Sam Tierney, Head Brewer at the Propagator, and Matt Brynildson. Once at the Propagator, the trio of meticulous brewers discussed their favorite saisons. Matt even shared a few of his favorites from his recent trip to Belgium. From there, the recipe for California pFriemin’ was hatched.
Both breweries are known for its saisons and realized that the keystone of any quality Saison is the microflora used in fermentation, and keeping with tradition the two breweries chose the classic Dupont yeast strain for its distinctive farmhouse aromas and characteristics. In brewing California pFriemin’ they sourced Belgian Dingemans Pilsner Malt, Admiral Yolo Wheat Malt, and rustic spelt to achieve a luscious, golden straw body and pillowy mouthfeel. They then dry-hopped the beer post-fermentation with New Zealand Nelson and German Blanc hops to add the subtle touch of tropical fruit aromas in balance with earthy Saison notes.
But this was only the beginning of California pFriemin’ as they wanted to make this beer a bit more special. So Jim Crooks, Firestone Walker’s Master Blender at Barrelworks, enters the equation to put his touch on the beer. He added a Belgian strain of Brettanomyces for secondary fermentation, conditioning, and bottling. The result is one special saison that’s bursting with nuanced aromas and flavors as it sits at 6.9% ABV.
“No Barrelworks beer would be complete without adding our wild fingerprint, so we included Brettanomyces yeast to condition and carbonate this gem of a beer,” said Jim Crooks, in a statement. “This beer was made with friends – we hope you enjoy it with yours.”
California pFriemin’ is a limited release beer. There are three ways to acquire this one. A couple of ways is to be a member of Firestone Walker’s Brewmaster’s Collective club or pFriem Family Brewers pFriemsters Union Local 541 to acquire it. Fortunately, pFriem’s club offers a rolling seasonal membership and there’s still time to sign up for the next club release that includes California pFriemin’. Those interested can sign-up here, but you only have until Friday, May 27th to do so!
The final option to acquire California pFriemin’ is to visit any of the three Firestone Walker Brewing locations in California or have it shipped to the following states: CA, DC, KY, NE, NH, ND, PA, VT, and VA. Only 400 cases were produced and it retails for $9.99 per 375mL bottle and can be ordered here.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.