…to stay? Looks like the debate as to where a Cold IPA lands in beer style taxonomy hasn’t hurt or stopped breweries from producing more, and here is another from Firestone Walker (a blog favorite brewery)…
..though still not a fan of the artwork palette or style, I do like the Escher touch tied to the name which is a nod to the what is it really talk.
Each year, I review the Firestone Walker Anniversary blend from five years ago along side this year’s model. Let’s dive into 21 and 26.
2017 – 21st
lovely espresso colored foam. bourbon and sugar aroma. silky and very sweet on the tongue. the bourbon flavors compliment the sweet notes. no alcohol burn to be found on a plus 11% beer. almost an imperial milk stout.
2022 – 26th
not much of a head at all. pours a pitch black color. aroma is surprisingly neutral. cherry is the dominant note here. bright, with no heaviness at all. there is a tiny bit of oak if you search for it. this will be interesting to see what happens with age to this.
When stores put up Halloween items in July and Christmas sprouts up in October, you need to find a better marker for the end of year holiday season. Mine is the release of the Firestone Walker Anniversary blend.
This year the winning blend was done by the trio of Valia From and Emily Miller – Desparada Wines, Russell From – Herman Story Wines and Danny “Fullpint” Becker – Editor-in-Chief, of The Full Pint. And it has some fun additions to it.
Here is the final blend: Parabola – Russian Imperial Stout – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (32%) Velvet Merkin – Milk Stout – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (32%) Bravo – Imperial Brown Ale – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (24%) Heavy Things – Barley Wine Made in Collaboration with The Bruery – Aged in Brandy Barrels (6%) Helldorado – Blonde Barley Wine – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (4%) Wheat Wine -Strong Golden Barley Wine Co-Fermented with White Wine Grape Juice – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (2%)
I always buy one to age and one to drink now. It is pretty much the only beer I age now, it is that good.
And of course, as per BSP tradition, I will review 26 next to the blend from five years ago.
There are many beer styles that peek out only occasionally, wheatwine is certainly in that group but Firestone Walker is using it in their latest Vintage release from their Barrel Program. It is called Houses In Motion.
Here is the beer description, “After aging this wheatwine ale in whiskey barrels for 12 months, we incorporated whole roast coffee beans, cocoa nibs, and cinnamon spice to accentuate its core flavors.”
Firestone Walker has variant-ed Parabola, their barrel-aged stout in fancy boxes and 12oz bottles but now they have gone in another direction by toning it down and creating a possible new line of inquiry with Parabolita.
The first offering being a salted caramel stout in a silver 16oz can. Parabola is blended with Velvet Merkin and then infused with Madagascar vanilla beans, cocoa nibs and sea salt.
This takes FW into a direction away from their cocktail beer creations and has a slew of possible concoctions that could be made.
Did you think I would NOT review a bourbon barrel-aged beer this month? I specifically hunted a good choice to start with and who better than Firestone Walker who collaborated with Highland Park Brewery on the excellently named, No Ends, Only Beginnings.
This is a simple and effective beer. No bells. No whistles. There is a lovely sugary, caramel aroma here. Not much in the way of oaky barrel. I could see comparisons to brown sugar or a restrained vanilla cupcake. The booziness is really held in check by the sugar. If tasted blind, I would not say bourbon but I would rate it highly.