Inspired by the wine country that surrounds the brewery, Firestone Walker Rosalie debuts year-round this month.
Paso Robles, California, the home of Firestone Walker is known to the rest of the world as a premier wine region. The brewery was even constructed on the Firestone family winery. If that influence isn’t enough, local winemakers are always asked to assist in creating Firestone’s annual Anniversary blend.
The path to Rosalie started in September of 2018 when Castoro Winery harvested 200 tons of wine grapes for Firestone Walker. Grape varieties included Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Muscat Canelli, and Orange Muscat. Chardonnay grapes were tapped to take the flavor profile lead, but brewmaster Matt Brynildson wanted other varieties. “The Chardonnay provides these crowd-pleasing textures and flavors. But we also wanted to weave in the other grape varieties to lift the aromas and add complexity,” he says.
The goal with Firestone Walker Rosalie is to create a beer with the body Rose wine. A cross-over creation, that blurs the line between beer and wine. The acid profile of a rosé can’t be achieved with normal yeast and malts, so the brewery used some souring techniques to achieve this.
A lightly hopped, pilsner malt heavy wort is blended with the pressed grape juice. By co-fermenting the wort with the grape juice, the brewery is essentially making beer and wine at the same time.
Where hops would have been added whirlpool step of the brewing process, Firestone Walker opted to use hibiscus petals. This gives Rosalie it’s pink, rosé coloring, with an extra touch of citric acid which brightens up the beer. The result of this complicated process? It would seem like one of the most cutting edge beer and wine hybrids in the world.
Look for Firestone Walker Rosalie in 12-ounce cans year-round this month. Draft will launch in April 2019.
Style: Hybrid Beer (w/ Grapes. Hibiscus.)
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. Year-Round.
Debut: January 2019
Image: Firestone Walker
In the wild west of hazy India pale ales, one of the best breweries out there is about to release one of their own after a year of experimentation. Firestone Walker Mind Haze IPA debuts this month.
Firestone’s brewmaster Matt Brynildson recognizes this hazy IPA trend got its start on America’s East Coast, but according to him, he also sees it starting with Bavarian hefeweizens. This may help explain the flavor profile in Firestone Walker Mind Haze IPA.
This can of hop-haze boasts a creamy mouthfeel and tropical-banana aroma according to the brewery. (Where the Bavarian influence comes into play.) The brewing team amplified the esters from the yeast and paired it with fruity hops.
“We’re not relying on residual yeasts or starches for turbidity. The haziness and mouthfeel of Mind Haze are cultivated by more stable means, namely using 40 percent wheat and oats in the grain bill while nailing the timing and interplay of our hop additions,” says Brynildson.
It’s this hazy IPA meets Bavaria flavor that Firestone Walker hopes really puts their own “stamp” on the style.
Firestone Walker Mind Haze IPA hits the brewery’s entire distribution footprint this week in 12-ounce cans and draft.
Style: Hazy IPA
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.
Debut: January 2019
Firestone Walker Mocha Merlin is back in Paso Robles, California based brewery’s lineup again for fall.
In 2014, the brewery released a Velvet Mocha Merlin, an oatmeal stout is infused with coffee beans and cocoa nibs. That beer appeared as a part of The Winter Bundle that year. Assuming the beers are related, Mocha Merlin follows the same creamy, coffee path.
The brewery’s can lineup includes DBA, Pale 31, Union Jack IPA, Easy Jack IPA, Pivo Hoppy PIls, Luponic Distortion and new Leo v. Ursus.
Firestone Walker Mocha Merlinis available for a second time 12-ounce cans and draft.
PIC: Beer Street Journal
Firestone Walker Dark & Stormy
Style: (w/ Ginger. Lime. Barrel Aged. Rum.)
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft.
Every beer collaboration is born out of friendship and mutual respect for one another’s brewing passions. In this case, the fermented love spans 2,000 miles. Introducing Firestone Walker / Creature Comforts Mother’s Milk.
The base beer is a milk stout that has been aging for nearly a year in rye whiskey barrels – a very intentional move. According to Eric Ponce, Firestone Walker’s barrel program manager, the sweetness of bourbon barrels would have been too cloying. “We designed the base beer with the intent of aging it in rye whiskey barrels—we thought it would be the perfect marriage. The dash of salt just makes everything pop on the palate,” he explains in a recent press release.
Mother’s Milk will be available to all attendees of this weekend’s Firestone Walker Invitational. 12-ounce bottles will be available at the brewery on June 2nd.
Availability: 12oz Bottles. Limited Release
Image: Firestone Walker
Firestone Walker has added Minnesota distribution this month. The brewery has signed a distribution deal with Artisan Beer Company.
Matt Brynildson, the brewmaster for the Paso Robles, California based brewery hails from Minnesota, making this launch extra special.
“It’s hard to describe how great it feels to finally be able to send our beers into my home State of Minnesota! For the first time since becoming the brewmaster at Firestone Walker 17 years ago, the beers that I helped to create will be available in my family’s restaurant in Litchfield. The long wait is finally over and I can’t wait to get back and have a pint of our beer with my dad.” – Matt Brynildson
Launch beers include Firestone Lager, Nitro Merlin Milk Stout, Pivo Pils, Union Jack, and the latest in the Luponic Distortion Series.
Firestone Walker was founded in 1996. With the addition of Minnesota, the brewery’s lineup can be found in 33 states.
Firestone Walker Nitro Merlin Milk Stout has been canned for the first time this month.
Two years ago, Nitro Merlin Milk Stout debuted on draft. Since then, Firestone Walker’s brewmaster Matt Brynildson has been researching options to make it work in cans. Ultimately, the brewery accomplishes this without a nitrogen widget.
“We looked at widgets, but couldn’t find a way to use them without exceeding our specs for total dissolved oxygen in the beer, which ultimately affects freshness and shelf life, so we had to look elsewhere.” -Matt Brynildson
The brewery retrofitted the brewery’s canning line with a liquid nitrogen drip machine. A drop of liquid nitrogen is dropped into the can, which immediately turns into nitrogen gas. The can is filled and sealed, mixing the gas in both the liquid and trapped in the headspace. For best effect, use what Firestone Walker calls the “surge pour” by inverting the can three times and pouring hard.
Flavor. Nitro Merlin has been an incredible beer since its inception. Brynildson and his team ported the beer over to cans beautifully. The beer is smooth and creamy, with just a touch of lactose sweetness and hints of milk chocolate. If you’re into beer pairings, drop a few dollars and order Brown Butter Cookie Company’s “Original” cookies . The pairing is as heavenly as it is addictive. They compliment each other so well, you actually want to dip the cookies in the beer. (And fight your friend/lover/spouse for the last bite and sip.)
Firestone Walker Nitro Merlin Milk Stout is the brewery’s first packaged nitro beer, hitting shelves nationally in January 2018.
Image: Beer Street Journal