Cobbler Slide

Firestone Walker dropped some new beer s from their BarrelWorks division and from their cocktail inspired series…

…and I am in a bit of a quandary. The Gin Rickey beer which I had such high hopes for was not to my liking at all so can they re-find the magic of past beers? The Blackberry beer sounds intriguing but mint and cinnamon in a wild ale? In normal times, I would just order tasters and see which won out.

19 vs 24

Each year, I buy the latest Firestone Walker Anniversary Blend and also bring out the oldest one that I have. Then I review them. Here is old vs new for 2020.

24 – big tan head quickly bubbles away to practically nothing but super dark brown. Sugar and fondue on the nose. Getting rum and sugar flavor wise. No burn on this at all.  Very smooth but there is a bit of cola bubble too. Tiramisu / custard notes send this into dessert territory. 

19 – dark brown with bubbles. Caramel in the aroma and the first big hit of flavor.  Still an alcohol burn here which makes it a bit prickly.  There is a tiny bit of spirit barrel flavor coming through as well. Still well carbonated after five years. My little cap popped off and flew across the room. 

FW 24

Last night, Firestone Walker went on YouTube to discuss their 2020 anniversary blend and here are the tidbits that I learned….

  • The first barrel-aged beer that FW did was Ruby a TIPA / barleywine
  • The cardboard crown for the winning winemaker was referred to as the Stanley Cup of Paso Robles
  • The winning blend used the max amount of Merkin it could
  • Campfire and S’mores was the best beer descriptor that I heard
  • Out of left field pairing idea, spicy teriyaki and blue cheese

24 – The Blend

Place your bets as to who won the blending challenge for this year’s Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker. Paso Robles wineries: Denner, Halter Ranch, Herman Story, Ledge, Linne Calodo, Lone Madrone, Tablas Creek, Thacher, TH Estate Wines and Saxum competed.

The winning blend—the basis for XXIV—was ultimately created by Winemaker Kevin Sass at Halter Ranch.

XXIV: The Final Blend

Velvet Merkin – Milk Stout – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (27%)

Stickee Monkee – Central Coast Quad – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (26%)

Parabola – Russian Imperial Stout – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (16%)                                                             

Smoked Imperial Walkers Reserve – Robust Porter brewed with beechwood smoked malt- Aged in Bourbon Barrels (16%)

Bravo – Imperial Brown Ale – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (11%)

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

Hazy x2 + Lager Too

Firestone Walker’s Lager is getting a label makeover and bigger news, Mind Haze is growing. Now there will be a Double…

The lager label seems old school beer design without the font and the use of the word premium. Plus it has the earthy tones of the barrel-aged beers like the Gin Rickey. As for Hazier, I bet they took their time with it like they did the original so I expect a winner.

Review – Gin Rickey from Firestone Walker

Long time readers of the blog will know two things. One, that I am a fanboy for Firestone Walker and two, that I like me some gin. And when I saw that the barrel wizards of Paso Robles has a gin barrel-aged beer, I was on it opening weekend.

With a hearty barley wine base, I figured it would be a knockout. The base is fine, offering a nice, almost creamy texture. But the lime is not there, overcome by an Indian spicing that is new to my beer drinking experience but is too heavy handed to let anything else shine. I would add though that this might, if handled with care, be an interesting dessert pairing due to the alcohol level.

Mood Ring

Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks division has gotten in the mood with Sante Adairius Rustic Ales for “Big Mood”, “a new wild child crafted with Blenheim apricots and white wine grapes.

Here is more info on the collaboration

Jim “Crooks used the Sante Adairius yeast to ferment 2,000 pounds of Blenheim variety apricots sourced from Sante Adairius’ supplier in Hollister, California—enough to fill 50 oak barrels of beer, which underwent six months of aging. This apricot beer was then blended with a special selection of barrel-aged wine hybrid lots dating back to the 2017 vintage, all made with local Santa Barbara County white wine grapes.”