Join us as we hop onto Hippie Highway—a limited-edition collaboration beer created with our good friends at There Does Not Exist in San Luis Obispo.
Hippie Highway began with a friendship that goes back years. Firestone Walker Brewmaster Matt Brynildson and Max Montgomery, owner and head brewer at There Does Not Exist, first got to know each other after moving to the same street in San Luis Obispo. Max was an aspiring homebrewer who was interested in going pro, and Matt offered him a brewing job after Max attended the Siebel Institute and Doemens Academy International Diploma in Brewing Technology program.
After several years as a brewer at Firestone Walker, Max was ready to start his own brewery. There Does Not Exist opened in 2019 and has been cranking out delicious beers that are influenced by Max’s time at Firestone Walker while having their own unique style and approach.
This spring, we decided it was time to get back together and brew a beer at The Propagator, our R&D brewhouse in Venice, California. A lot has changed in the beer world since Max left to start his brewery, and we have both developed our own ways of making hazy IPAs. We put our heads together to see if we could come up with a hazy IPA unlike any we had done before, and the result is Hippie Highway.
Furthering their mutual quest for uniquely drinkable hazy IPAs, Matt and Max chose a base of Weyermann Bohemian Pilsner malt, then added nearly 50 percent malted oats to the mash for a silky texture and brooding haze. When it came to the dry hopping regimen, they doubled down with Strata and Talus hops at the tail end of fermentation, followed by Riwaka and Nelson a few days later to layer in aromas of tropical fruit and white grape with a touch of dankness.
The resulting beer may look typical for a hazy IPA with its opaque golden hue, but it also has unique characteristics that set it apart. Hippie Highway is well-balanced with just enough bitterness and sweetness to carry the hop flavor and aroma, without becoming cloying or harsh. A bright aroma of orange, grape candy, mango, and fresh herbs leads into a balanced flavor profile of toasty oat and bready pilsner malt with a moderately bitter, hoppy finish.
The name Hippie Highway is a nod to a theoretical Pacific Coast Highway road trip from our main brewery in Paso Robles to There Does Not Exist in San Luis Obispo to The Propagator in SoCal. Back in the day, Matt and Max shared a fondness for the earthy music and hippie-dom that are prevalent along the coastline of the Central Coast.
Get your hands on Hippie Highway Hazy Oat IPA here.
But wait, there’s more! The collaborative goodness doesn’t stop with Hippie Highway, as we are releasing another beer with There Does Not Exist—a saison called Temporal Illusion, which was made at their brewery. Matt brought his two kids over to There Does Not Exist to follow the brew and even took turns graining out the lauter tun. The finished beer was blended with select barrel-aged beers from our Barrelworks wild ale cellar to add a touch of funk.
“The concept for Temporal Illusion started as a conversation with Matt about the virtues of great saisons and why they’re the perfect drinking beers,” Max says. “Matt was fresh off his Belgian brewing sabbatical, and I was looking for some inspiration from his travels to integrate into a new saison project at There Does Not Exist.”
Max describes the beer as having flavors of apple blossom and Sauvignon Blanc with hints of petrol and fresh cracked pepper—a great summer beer to drink now, but also a good candidate to cellar for later. Want to try it? Head on over to the There Does Not Exist online store.
“It’s really cool to come full circle with Max and brew these beers together,” Matt says. “Looking back, I can only say it was meant to be.”
Hippie Highway Hazy Oat IPA is available for a limited time. Buy online now or at our three CA locations starting Friday.