Firestone Walker XX, the brewery’s coveted anniversary release, debuts in November, 2016.
The anniversary series started in 2005. Firestone Walker’s brewmaster Matt Brynildson already making a special beer for the brewery’s 10th anniversary, aka X, when a barrel broker named Tom Griffin tracked down Brynildson. You know how the rest turned out.
Now, 10 years later, the Firestone Walker Anniversary Series has become an more than just a beer, but a session of friends creating a one of kind celebration blend.
The brewery’s home of Paso Robles, California known for Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel producers, so Bryndilson invites dozens of local winemakers to help blend the final release. The 2016 blend is thanks to 17 winemakers, blending 5 different component beers that have been aging in over 250 oak barrels.
“There is just so much going on in this beer. It’s big and complex, with all of these different facets from our barrel-aged program that are so seamlessly integrated. We wanted to produce something really special for our 20th anniversary, and I think we did it.” – Brynildson
The final blend:
Parabola – Russian imperial Stout, aged in new oak & bourbon barrels. 40% of Blend
Stickee Monkee – Belgian-style Quadrupel, aged in new oak & bourbon barrels. 20% of Blend
Velvet Merkin – Oatmeal Stout, aged in bourbon barrels. 17.5% of Blend
Bravo – Brown Ale aged in bourbon. 12.5% of Blend
Helldorado – Blonde barleywine aged in bourbon. 10% of blend
Firestone Walker XX Anniversary will be available in 22 ounce bottles across the brewery’s entire distribution network in November, 2016.
Style: American Strong Ale (Oak Aged. Barrel Aged. Bourbon.)
Availability: 22oz Bottles. Limited.
Debut: November, 2016
Ed note: The team for the final blend included these wineries
Scott Hawley – Torrin (Winning Blend)
Sherman Thacher and Daniel Callan – Thacher Winery
Matt Trevisan – Linne Calodo
Connor McMahon and Kyle Jury – Booker
Terry and Natalie Hoage –TH Estate Wines
Russell From and Philip Muzzy – Herman Story
Molly Lonborg and Kevin Sass– Halter Ranch
Brock Waterman – Brochelle Vineyards
Justin Smith – Saxum Vineyards
Mark Adams – Ledge Vineyards
Neil Collins and Chelsea Franchi – Tablas Creek Vineyard
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion 003, the third edition in the brewery’s hop focused series, is now available.
Earlier this year, the Paso Robles, California bssed brewery debuted the Distortion Series, something brewer Matt Brynildson has always wanted. Something very hoppy. Experimental. No restraints. Plus, the beer changes every 90 days.
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion 003 is a blend of nine different hops, with characteristics of the first two releases, plus something new.
Brynildson found a new German hop on a Hallertau trip to Germany. It’s so new, it doesn’t have a name yet. It boasts a juicy Mandarin orange flavor, while still being very distinctly German.
“It probably wasn’t supposed to be shared for brewing on a commercial scale, but they knew we were excited about it.”
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest is another hop – Comet. This hop rose out of the wave that brought Centennial and Cascade hops into use.
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion 003 boasts a strong juicy and fruity flavor, 100% derived from hops. Available in 12 ounce cans for the next three months.
Style: American IPA
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.
Release: September, 2016
Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest returns again this year after taking a “light” year in 2015.
Last year the brewery only brewed a single batch destined for draft accounts. The beer wasn’t packaged.
Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest aka “Paso Marzen Beer” honors the classic style, but throws in a touch of west coast hoppiness. The ingredients all come from Germany. This year it returns in 16 ounces cans.
“Malty sweetness and subtle honey-like aromas take the lead on this beer, but there’s also a subtext of noble hop spiciness…It’s mellow and rounded, and has a beautiful autumn orange hue.” – Firestone Walker brewmaster, Matt Brynildson
The name “Oaktoberfest” is a nod to the brewery’s hometown of Paso Robles, California, which means “Pass of the Oaks.”
Four packs of Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest are now shipping to the brewery’s entire distribution network.
Hops: Hallertau Tradition
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft. Seasonal release.
Latest Return: Mid-August, 2016
Image: Firestone Walker
Firestone Walker Helldorado 2016 will debut this weekend.
Dark beers and barleywines are quite popular to use in retired spirits barrels. (For good reason, they make damn good barrel-aged beers.) If you are reading this, you already know Firestone Walker is incredibly gifted when it comes to barrel-aging finesse.
A couple of years ago, the brewery thought a blonde barleywine, one brewed with a lighter base malt, would go well in oak barrels.
The bready, honeyed flavors of pale malts pull out rich wildflower honey, vanilla and coconut notes from the oak, creating an overall flavor evocative of bourbon-glazed graham crackers that stands as singularly unique in our Vintage lineup. Helldorado may be lighter in color but it is a full-bodied and densely concentrated sipper at 11.8% ABV.
Firestone Walker Helldorado 2016 debuts once again on August 6th, in 22 ounce bottles and draft. Both very limited.
Image: Firestone Walker
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion 002 marks the second iteration of the brewery’s new for 2016 “Luponic” series. The beer changes or as the brewery puts it – “evolves” every 90 days.
Firestone Luponic Distortion started as a specialty draft release. Firestone Walker’s brewer Matt Brynildson was setting the stage for a beer he’s always wanted. Something very hoppy. No restraints.
The first edition, a.k.a. Revolution 001, dropped in March. Revolution 002 hops have been “remixed” to give the beer a new twist.
What twist? Luponic 002 leads with a new hop from the Pacific Northwest. Per Brynildson, the hops boast peachy and tropical/papaya notes. Additionally, he used German and New Zealand hops. All in all, three hops Firestone Walker has never used before.
“The southern hemisphere hops add these bright Sauvignon Blanc-like accents of grapefruit and gooseberry, and there’s this new variety out of Europe that ties everything together with honeydew aromas and an underlying herbal pine quality.” – Matt Brynildson
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion 002 is available in 12 ounce cans for the next 90 days. Then – expect Revolution 003.
Style: American IPA
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.
Release: July, 2016
Firestone Walker has teamed up with Russian River to create a new draft offering – STiVO.
As the name suggests, STiVO is a mashup of pilsners they both produce – Firestone Walker Pivo and Russian River STS.
This release is 10 years in the making, born out of mutual respect for each other’s breweries. Brewmaster Matt Brynildson regularly advised Russian River’s Vinnie and Natalie Ciluruzo as they were building their brewery. Brynildson conversely called upon the Ciluruzos when Firestone Walker built their barrelhouse. The great friendship was born out of
This beer has 10 years in the making,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “Vinnie and I respect each other immensely as brewers, but more important, we’re good friends.”
For years, fans have been calling for a Firestone Walker/Russian River collaboration. It all came down to finally making something that really just fit at the right time. What might take fans by surprise is that the final collaboration is not an over the top hoppy beer (like you slammed together Pliny the Elder and Double Jack).
Neither brewery started out brewing pilsners, but have come to love the style overtime.
STiVO is a blend of both breweries water and malt philosophies that compliment this light style, with a collaborative approach to hopping. The two breweries basically split the hops down the middle, using Pivo’s German Saphir hops, and STS’s Alsatian Aramis hops. The end result is a new age Pilsner.
STiVO will debut at the Firestone Walker Invitational on June 4th. Draft will be making its way around the U.S. In Firestone Walker’s markets shortly after.
Availability: Draft only
Release: June, 2016
New Belgium celebrates 25 years of operation this year. That’s 25 years of brewing their flagship offering, Fat Tire as well. The Colorado based brewery marks the occasion with a 6-way collaboration.
New Belgium has tapped some longtime brewing friends to help, creating a their own spin on Fat Tire. Allagash, Avery Brewing, Firestone Walker, Hopworks Urban Brewery, and Rhinegeist are all involved, leaving their own fingerprint on the now 25 year old brew.
- Allagash Brewing is producing a version of Fat Tire using a Belgian yeast sourced form the Poperings region and a touch of the Allagash house Brettanomyces – expect notes of stone fruit, sweet tart and peppercorn.
- Avery Brewing will focus on a fruitier hop bill also with a dose of brett evoking notes of apricot and pineapple.
- Firestone Walker Brewing is creating a west coast interpretation of Fat Tire with an assertive hop profile and a light lager yeast.
- Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) is creating a tart Fat Tire bringing in apple and lactobacillus to help highlight that beautiful green apple snap inherent to the original Fat Tire.
- Rhinegeist has transformed Fat Tire into a Belgian XPA, combining a fruity Belgian yeast strain with bready-sweet European and Colorado malts for a beer to please hopheads and wine drinkers alike.
This June, mixed 12 packs featuring two of each interpretation will be distributed, just prior to New Belgium’s 25th Anniversary. (Parties to be announced.)