Forever Jazz

I love seeing beers in packaging that is not usually associated with a style which is why it is cool to see that Los Angles Ale Works has put their Jazz Forever Bourbon Barrel-Aged beer in 12oz cans.  The beer is described by the Hawthorne brewery as, “A smooth and choco lately blend of Imperial Stout, Barley Wine, and Roggenbock.”


Looks like the Anniversary Blend for 2019 is the start of a blending dynasty.  According to a recent press release from Firestone Walker, “for the second year in a row, the winning team included Sherman Thacher and Daniel Callan of Thacher Winery, as well as Will Freeman and Phil LaMontagne of TH Estate Wines. They all walked away with the coveted “cardboard crowns” that are accorded to the winners each year.”

And in the e-mail were the details of the blend…..

 XXIII: The Final Blend

 Stickee Monkee aged in Bourbon Barrels (28%) – Central Coastal Quad

Parabola aged in Bourbon Barrels (28%) – Russian Imperial Stout                                                        

 Bravo aged in Bourbon Barrels (20%) – Imperial Brown Ale

Bourbon Barrel Helldoradoaged in Bourbon Barrels (15%) – Blonde Barley Wine

Velvet Merkin Aged in Bourbon Barrels (5%)  – Milk Stout

Tequila Barrel Helldoradoaged in Tequila Barrels (4%) – Blonde Barley Wine

It is cool that there is a double dose of Helldorado in this years mix, maybe they have other Helldorado barrels to make a single Blonde Barley Wine blend?  As is custom on BSP, I will review the new beer as well as the beer from six years ago.


When I see the all cap words, THE FINAL BLEND, in a Firestone Walker press release, I start scrolling like a madman. And when it refers to their 18th Anniversary beer, I pour over the list and start comparing to past years.


38% Parabola Aged in Bourbon Barrels
16% Helldorado Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels
16% Bravo Aged in Bourbon and Brandy Barrels
14% Stickee Monkee Aged in Bourbon and Whiskey Barrels
5% Velvet Merkin Aged in Bourbon Barrels
4% Hydra Cuvée Aged in Bourbon Barrels; collaboration with Flying Dog
3% Wookey Jack 100% Stainless Steel
2% Ol’ Leghorn Aged in new American oak barrels; collaboration with 3 Floyds
2% Double Jack 100% Stainless Steel

Now I won’t presume that I could pinpoint the flavor and aroma that each component brings to the bottle but the addition of two collaborations beers is what jumps out to me.

More numbers to throw at you, FW “blended together 227 oak barrels and nine different beers” to create this year’s version.


Tomorrow is the official release date of the latest Anniversary blend from Firestone-Walker.

The website where the photo above was taken details the thought process behind the blend and the beer and includes this breakdown of what is in numero 16…..

The following are descriptions of key components with their original code names:

Velvet Merkin (8.7% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon barrels

-Traditional Oatmeal Stout (23% of final blend)

Stickee Monkee (12.5% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon and Brandy barrels

-English Barley Wine (22.5% of final blend)

Double Double Barrel Ale (14.2% ABV) – Aged 100% in retired Firestone Union barrels

-Double strength English Pale Ale (20.3% of final blend)

Parabola (13% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon barrels

-Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout (10.8% of final blend)

PNC (13.0% ABV) – Aged in Tequila barrels

-American Strong Buckwheat Stout (8.1% of final blend)

Helldorado (11.5% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon Barrels and Brandy barrels

-Blonde Barley Wine (5.4% of final blend)

Bravo (13.4% ABV) – Aged in Bourbon and Brandy barrels

-Imperial Brown Ale (5.4% of final blend)

Wookey Jack (8.3% ABV)- 100% Fresh, Dank & Hoppy 100% Stainless Steel

-Black Rye India Pale Ale (4.5% of final blend)

XV on 11/5

I am one of the lucky who have had a taste of the XV from Firestone-Walker and I am really jazzed about it being released. Due to limited cellar space, I generally buy only one bottle to store. (I have XIV and Parabola) But I liked this one so much, I might get more and I highly recommend getting it. And this coming from a guy who occasionally mocks the Big/Imperial/Double craze.

But here is the rest of the story from Firestone-Walker, “The result of one of the most unique and intriguing beer projects in the world will be released the beginning of November. “XV”, Firestone Walker’s 15th Anniversary Ale, celebrates the founding of the brewery as well as pushing the boundaries of what beer can be.

The anticipation and reputation of XV precedes this beer. XV is the culmination of intense blending sessions by local Paso Robles area winemakers to create a complex yet balanced ale. Eight beers were artfully blended together to create this masterpiece.

“I really like what the winemakers bring to the process, they usually go for blends and flavor profiles that brewers never think of,” said Firestone Walker’s Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “That’s why I like bringing them in, it pushes the boundaries of our taste and that’s exciting.”

Past year’s anniversary ales from Firestone have changed the perception of beer. These higher alcohol complex blends are more akin to wine than beer. Like wine, the anniversary beers are vintage releases that can be laid down and aged for years with the flavor profile slowly changing. The secondary market for these beers is similar to wine, with bottles that originally sold for around $20 now fetching upwards of $100 each.

“Who’d have thought a bottle of beer would be valued at $100 plus. It is an affirmation that there is real passion for beer out there,” said David Walker, Co-Owner of Firestone Walker.

Firestone XV will go on sale for the first time on Saturday, November 5 at the Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles. Patrons who purchase 3 bottles or more of this amazing beer will gain access to the brewery’s anniversary party featuring complimentary beer and food tastings, music and more.

“XV” will make its debut across all markets where Firestone beers are sold this fall in limited amounts in 22oz bottles. It will also be made available on draft in select accounts.”