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.

Mo Mordred

There are not too many sour stout based beers out there. But now Barrelworks from Firestone Walker is adding a dark sour to their range. Here is the backstory on this new beer “…Velvet Merkin which was then given our treatment and transferred to French, American and Hungarian oak barrels thus transforming one amazing beer into something inconceivable. Mordred offers a depth of dark chocolates, espresso and spices of nutmeg and clove.”


You know it is the holiday season when the Firestone Walker anniversary beer drops. It is one of the few beers that I buy without even looking at the price. And I suggest you do the same.

2017 brings us XXI. Local winemakers Jordan Fiorentini and Kyle Gingras of Epoch Estate Wines along with Anthony Yount of Denner Vineyards created the winning blend which is made up of….

The result is an inspired blend of five distinct beers aged in spirits barrels: Velvet Merkin (oatmeal stout, 42%), Parabola (Russian imperial oatmeal stout, 18%), Stickee Monkee (Central Coast quad, 17%), Bravo (imperial brown ale, 14%) and Helldorado (blonde barleywine, 9%).

According to FW, “XXI represents the first time that Velvet Merkin has set the pace for the Anniversary Ale blend.”

Look for special back catalog tastings of past anniversary beers. Those are fun events.

With More Velvet

Anything that Firestone Walker puts into a fancy box should be a must buy for beer fans and that goes double for Velvet Merkin, their barrel-aged oatmeal stout which is set to return in its third bottled vintage.

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What’s different?  The 2015 Velvet Merkin includes a barrel-aged lot of an experimental milk stout version of Velvet Merlin.

Then the beer was aged in bourbon barrels from the Heaven Hill family, including Elijah Craig and Old Fitzgerald.

The 2015 Velvet Merkin will be officially released at the brewery on Saturday, September 12. A total of 3,500 cases (22-ounce bottles; $16.99) were produced, with availability slated for select markets across the United States.

Merkin ’14


In ten days, Firestone Walker’s Velvet Merkin barrel-aged oatmeal stout will return with the new 2014 Vintage.

Here is the barrel breakdown from the brewery: “The 2014 Velvet Merkin was primarily aged in bourbon barrels from Elijah Craig and Woodford Reserve, along with a selection of Rittenhouse Rye whiskey barrels. The Elijah Craig and Woodford Reserve barrels imparted fine bourbon qualities, while the younger Rittenhouse Rye whiskey barrels provided subtle spiciness with an elevated vanilla character.”

Five different iterations of the beer have been blended to come up with this beer, almost a test blending drive before the Anniversary beer which comes later in the year.

Last years oatmeal was splendid and I can’t wait to see how this one turns out and how it compares.

Review – Firstone Walker Velvet Merkin

Very lucky.  That is what I am thinking as I slowly slip the re-incarnated Velvet Merkin (2013) that I received from Firestone Walker.


This is a near perfect beer.    It falls into the category of beers that you could smell all day long.  That you would bottle as cologne. A beautiful mixture of coconut and roast and bourbon and barrel melding together.

But you have to drink it, and it is velvety smooth.  So that each sip lingers. It is under 9% in alcohol so you don’t get a burn in the throat. The bourbon really comes out in the flavor and just envelops the tongue.  How Matt Brynildson does it, I do not know but this is simply a fantastic beer.


Velvet Merk- check that, Merlin


When Solace runs its course over the summer, it will be replaced by a sixer of Velvet Merlin. No, this isn’t an offshoot of the Velvet Merkin. It is he same thing just changed to avoid any “imperial entanglements” so to speak.

Either way, I am looking forward to it.



“We present Parabola, the first-ever bottling of this barrel-aged Imperial Stout. Just 1,000 cases [22 oz. bottles] were produced. This bold beer features nuances of bourbon and tobacco aroma. Rich dark chocolate flavors meld with charred oak, dark cherry and espresso finishing smooth on the palate. Parabola is best enjoyed in moderation and is a perfect addition to chocolate desserts.”

Tobacco? Charred Oak?
Now dark cherry and espresso, I can understand. But will it make me swoon like Velvet Merkin does?

The York + Firestone/Walker =

where you need to be next week.

Here are the details:
“The incomparable Highland Park gastropub, The York will be hosting the second of what what will surely be a series of beer dinners on February 24th… with Firestone Walker Brewing Company!

Chef/bon vivant/all around good guy, Dimitri, will be announcing the full menu next week, but look for 5 courses, each paired with 5-6 oz. of Firestone’s beers. Beers lines up include Velvet Merkin, Union Jack and more…

The cost is $40 and includes all the food and beer.”

Jace from Firestone will be there to talk beer with the locals, and giving away some swag for the raffle.

Reservations available by calling (323) 255-9675 or mary@theyorkonyork.com.