Firestone Walker Coconut Merlin, a variant of the brewery’s popular milk stout, debuts this week.
“Merlin” is Firestone Walker’s signature milk stout – which is simply sensational if you haven’t tried it yet. For this seasonal release, brewmaster Matt Brynildson decided to change up this release with shredded and toasted coconuts.
The coconut is added after the milk stout’s fermentation, allowing the new beer to circulate through the coconut shreds. “We did a trial run on this beer and it was unbelievable,” says Ali Razi, the brewery’s production director. Leading Firestone Walker to make sure this was the next iteration of Merlin.
“The toasting really brings out the best flavors from the coconut, much like toasted and roasted malts deliver rich, complex flavors.” – Matt Brynildson
Firestone Walker Coconut Merlin is available on draft and 12-ounce cans in full distribution as a limited seasonal release.
Firestone Walker Cashmere XPA is exclusively a part of the brewery’s ‘Beer Before Glory” Mixed Pack this summer.
Cashmere XPA is a pale ale, brewed with the Cashmere hops. Like so many popular hop varieties, Cashmere has a very unique tropical citrus flavor.
“I think it’s cool that this is a cultivar from the public breeding program, meaning that any hop farmer can grow it,” Brynildson said. “But more importantly, it’s a true new age hop with these beautiful soft fruit qualities that are really distinct.” – Matt Brynildson, Brewmaster
Cashmere XPA is joined by newly formulated Easy Jack, Union Jack, and Firestone Lager in this seasonal 12-pack. Available throughout summer 2019.
Availability: 12oz Cans. Mixed Pack Exclusive
Debut: June 2019.
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Instead of simply selecting certain hops for the next Luponic Distortion releases, Firestone Walker went another way. Custom grown hops.
Three years ago, Firestone Walker’s brewmaster Matt Brynildson secured a deal with Hop Breeding Company’s breeders Jason Perrault and Michael Ferguson. Three acres of a special new hop cultivar was planted. According to Brynildson, it was all worth the wait.
“The tropical aspect of this hop is really crazy. It adds a distinctive dimension to the aroma profile of the beer.”
This new hop is supported by five additional hops, creating a beer that boasts “unique profile of piña colada, key lime, and nectarine.”
Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion 13 starts shipping to all of the brewery’s markets this week.
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. Rotating release.
Debut: Mid-June 2019
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Firestone Walker Violet Underground, a cross-Atlantic ocean collaboration, debuts this week. Part of the brewery’s Barrelworks Program.
Jim Crooks, Firestone’s medal-winning master blender is good friends with Brett Ellis, co-founder, and brewer at England’s Wild Beer Company.
Dissecting this beer yeast first – Ellis sent Crooks some Wild Beer’s native yeast. Crooks then fermented two base beers. One with Barrelworks yeast and California golden raspberries, and the other with Wild Beer’s English funk. Both bases were aged in French oak between 6 months and a year. French candied violet petals were added to a handful of barrels. The result? Something Crooks calls a “head trip”.
“Violet Underground is an intentional head trip. It’s golden in color yet smells like raspberries, offering a bunch of unexpected sensory notes that all come together in the glass.”
The beer name is presumably a play on the 60’s rock band Velvet Underground, that once had Lou Reed.
Firestone Walker Violet Underground is the second packaged release in 2019, available in 375-ml bottles and draft
Style: American Wild Ale (w/ Golden Raspberries. Violet Petals. French Oak Aged.)
Availability: 375ml Bottles. Draft. Limited Release.
Debut: Early June 2019
Firestone Walker Napa Parabola, a barrel-aged beer/wine cross over release, debuts this week.
Parabola, Firestone Walker’s barrel-aged Russian imperial stout, is quite well-known amongst beer drinkers, first released in 2006. The brewery is situated in Paso Robles, California deep in wine country. The wine culture has had a lot of influence on the brewery, especially in Firestone’s Anniversary blends, and in the recent year-round release, Rosalie.
Eric Ponce, Firestone’s barrel program manager, always thought Parabola would really mesh well with red wine barrels. “It was something that was always in the back of my mind, so when these rare wine barrels became available, I jumped at the opportunity. The winery didn’t want to be named—all I can say is that these barrels held some of the finest wines you’ll find in Napa Valley,” Ponce says.
According to the brewery, the result is a beer that marries the French oak flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot barrels with the robust dark fruit, tobacco, and roasted malt flavors of Parabola.
Firestone Walker Napa Parabola starts shipping this week in 12-ounce bottles and draft.
There’s a new wild ale rolling out of Buellton, California – Firestone Walker Bretta Tangerine.
This new hybrid wild ale features 1,000 pounds of specially selected Murcott tangerines grown in Ojai, California. According to master blender Jim Crooks, the Murcott wasn’t just a geographical decision. “The aroma coming off the zest was so pungent, bright, and in your face. We knew that it was going to make this beer pop,” he said.
Bretta Weisse serves as the base for Bretta Tangerine, which has seen fruits like blackberries and black currants.
The Final Blend.
The Murcott tangerine concentrate as blended with 15 barrels for Bretta Weisse for fermentation and maturation. Additionally, Crooks took tangerine concentrate from Ventura Coastal and co-fermented it with another lot of Bretta Weisse. The two tangerine lots were blended together with a third lot of 18-month old Bretta Weisse.
Firestone Bretta Weisse is available in 375-milliliter bottles in all markets the Barrelworks line is sold starting the last week of February 2019.
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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.
Firestone Walker killed it. In the world of hazy IPAs, Mind Haze is immediately one of the best we have ever had. This beer hits all the high notes of a hazy IPA; it’s a tropical juicy hop explosion, that finishes soft and almost creamy. No weird vegetal or underfermented flavors that some poorly made hazys possess. Brynildson and the brewing team took their time perfecting this beer before releasing it and you can truly taste it. This is a hazy slammer of a year-round release that raises the bar for the style.
“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
Image: Beer Street Journal