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.)
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion is joining the brewery’s full time lineup this month. The beer will change (or as the brewery puts it, evolve) every 90 days.
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion has been available in the past as a specialty release in the past. What the beer will be going forward is what brewer Matt Brynildson has wanted pretty much his whole career – the ability to build a hoppy beer with no restraints.
“Every time someone goes to drink a Pivo or Easy Jack or other Firestone beer, it should taste the same every time,” Brynildson said. “That all changes with Luponic Distortion.”
The first edition, a.k.a. Revolution 001, is ready to go. Every 90 days, Distortion will change – mostly in hop character.
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion is a 12 ounce can and bottle offering. Intended to be consumed within a 90 day window.
How does it taste? Crisp and hoppy. A massive treat for hop lovers, packaged nearly in 12 ounce cans and bottles. Brynildson really shows off not only his love of hops, but talent in brewing with them. This has all the earmarks of being a successful and sought after series from Firestone Walker.
Style: American IPA
Availability: 12oz Cans, 12oz Bottles, Draft.
Launch: February, 2016
Firestone Walker XIX Anniversary Ale releases on November 1st this year. As usual, the brewery has teamed up with some all-star wine blenders to create this one of a kind beer.
“We went back to the basics this year,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “We offered the winemakers a smaller number of barrel-aged beers to work with, and we eliminated the option of blending in our hoppy stainless steel finished beers. They were surprised at first, but it resulted in a rich and complex beer that is centered on barrel-aged flavors.”
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.
The winning blend came from Sherman Thacher and Daniel Callan of Thacher Winery, which you will soon taste as Firestone Walker XIX Anniversary Ale. Available in 22 ounce bottles and limited draft. D