Firestone Walker Brewing Nineteen Anniversary
The Vision Behind Our Barrel Aging and Blending Program Is Still the Same!
For this blend we decided to go back to the basics. We offered the winemakers a smaller number of barrel-aged beers to work with and eliminated the option of blending in our hoppy stainless steel finished beers. It resulted in a rich and complex beer that is centered on barrel-aged flavors. In many ways this beer reflects more of what a typical wine blend would be in terms of the number of components and how those components can work together and I believe it truly embodies what this project is all about. I don’t believe that it was chance that Sherman Thacher and his assistant Daniel Callan’s blend won the blending competition this year. Sherman brewed beer for many years for Los Gatos Brewing here in California and understands beer flavors well. He left brewing to follow his passion for wine and he and his wife Michelle own and operate a beautiful small winery on the west side of Paso on the site of the historic Kentucky Ranch. Sherman has a love for a hoppy Pilsner much like myself – that’s why we get along so well.
As a finished beer, XIX is a rich, chocolaty, chewy brew with brandy-soaked raisin and holiday fruitcake flavors. The blend is anchored by equal parts Stickee Monkee and Parabola, which combine to create a dense chocolate truffle-like base. Velvet Merkin and Bravo lend their spicy oak, leather and fruity accents to complete the brew. The beer is unfiltered and unfined so there will be a small amount of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. XIX is best enjoyed poured carefully into a half-filled brandy snifter or wine glass. Allow it to warm to 55F to fully enjoy the pleasing and complex aromas. As the beer sits and breathes in the glass the true complexity of this blend is revealed, so take your time. If you wait to open your bottle later, store it in a cool dark place. I suspect, like our other Anniversary offerings, that this beer will age well and change favorably for years to come. It was an absolute pleasure in the making and I truly hope you enjoy our 10th oak-aged blend! The journey continues and it continues to be just as fun and exciting now as it was back in 1996.
The past few years, Firestone Walker XIX Anniversary Ale has comprised of as many as 9 different beers. 2015 has just 4: Parabola, Stickee Monkee, Bravo, and Velvet Merkin. This blend eliminates the happier beers that have been a part of the blend in the past.