Friday, November 16, 2012

TAPS Helps Firestone Celebrate Their 16th

Another outstanding evening at TAPS, Petaluma last night. The occasion was the release party for Firestone Walker Brewing's 16th Anniversary Ale. This is indeed a very special beer; a blend of 8 different beers, 7 of which were barrel aged (in over 226 oak barrels) either in bourbon or brandy barrels and one aged in tequila barrels (!). Some barrels come from Kentucky distilleries, others from wineries in the Paso Robles area where Firestone is located. I recommend you read the background on this year's blend on the Firestone web site where much more detail is offered.

Firestone representative Kevin Orona, on hand to answer questions about the new release, offered part of the thinking behind the blending process; the brewmaster is after three taste sensations:"sweet, spicy and salty." So, what does it taste like? Well, the Stickee Monkee Barley Wine component added the "sweet" from Mexican Turbinado Brown Sugar, "spicy" from PNC which was the tequila barrel-aged beer and I'm not sure where the "salty" came from since I didn't recognize any in the flavor. What I did recognize was the chocolate, bourbon, slight coffee and even cognac-like flavors, finishing with a black rye and smooth alcohol intensity. Makes sense, since the alcohol is a notable 13% abv. 

Actually, part of the fun was letting the beer warm up and notice the flavors that emerged. Very noticeable differences and even the Firestone web site comments on this:

"XVI is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half filled brandy snifter or red wine glass.   Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas.  It takes a while, but as this beer sits and breathes in the glass, more rich dusty chocolate, stone fruit and crème brulee character is reveled as the rich spirit characters fade - so take your time."

Firestone Walker 16th Anniversary Blend

I hope you have a chance to try this extraordinary brew, preferably on tap. Then let me know what flavors you discover!!

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