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Firestone Walker Epic

By Jasmine · March 20th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Joe can be sort of a hoarder. When it comes to magazines (need a Bon Appetit from 2007? Come on over.), brewpub t-shirts (how else will we remember that we’ve been there?), and special beers (honey, I bought these for you because you like this kind. Uh-huh.), there is no such thing as too much or too old.

With the magazines, about once a year I pointedly drag his piles into the middle of the living room and stare at them until he sorts them into a much smaller pile. This keeps us from living in true hoarder style, where we are forced to make furniture out of magazines. My grandparents basically did this with newspapers, and in fact had to stop using their back door because the entryway got too full. They were also smokers (cigarettes, not meats), and this plus their lack of smoke detectors meant that at a certain point my parents refused to let my brother and I sleep over there any more.

And I definitely can’t get all Naggy Wife about the t-shirts. Take a spin through our photos and you’ll see that other than the occasional rented tux for a wedding (ours or otherwise) he never wears anything else. One pair of jeans a year, one pair of shoes. Many t-shirts. As far as husbandly vices go, this I can deal with. I’ll take t-shirts over cars or video games any day.

But the beer. I love it. He loves it. It isn’t all that expensive, when you consider we could have been wine snobs instead. Or sometimes Joe will get really into, say, Scotch for a day, but has never once come home with four rare Scotch bottles he bought “by accident”. No, the problem with the beer is that we live in a one bedroom apartment. The closet where we keep our beer and wine cellar is also the closet where we keep our food.

The beer was starting to win.

After he discovered that we had TEN Firestone Walker bombers, we decided there was only one thing that could be done: we had to have a party.

We bought a case each of Solace and the FW Pale as palate cleansers and sobering agents. Fifteen or so of our best drinking buddies (they’re so lucky to have us) braved the North Beach St. Patrick’s Day hurricane to sit in our garden and drink our aged beers. It was phenomenal.

The best beer was the first one we drank (word nerds: is there a term for this? The first thing you eat/drink/try on/drive is usually the best. If not there should be). It was Firestone Walker’s 12th Anniversary beer. Brewed in 2008, it is a blend based in FW Parabola, which is, as far as I can tell, in every one of these anniversary blends. I suspect this is the reason that every blend can have totally different beers and still come out similar (but not the same!). Adding to the fun in this particular one was a special brew called Saucerful of Secrets, brewed by Sean Paxton (The Homebrew Chef); Opal, a “wheat wine”; and Rufus, which had been aged in whiskey and bourbon barrels.
The beer was smooth and chocolately, a hint of raisins, but no syrupy sweetness that raisin flavors tend to bring along. Unfortunately I can’t recall what it tasted like fresh, but I can only imagine that the aging toned down the sweet and enhanced the cocoa and coffee flavors.

The rest of the beers were Anniversary 14, 15 (two of them!), and 16, Sucaba (“Abacus”, two different years), Parabola 2010 & 2012, Wookey Jack, Double DBA, Union Jack and a Black Xantus we’d been holding for two years. Oddly the 15 was better than the 14–perhaps something about that blend helped it age better, or maybe it was better to begin with.

I remember very little after the 15. I do remember adoring the DBA, rich and malty honey flavors, but not sweet. I remember the Parabola is a bit overwhelming and difficult to drink after a bunch of heavy, high-alcohol anniversary beers, especially when those anniversary beers are more balanced.

Joe is smiling so aggressively his glasses are almost being smiled off.

After a few hours our friend Christian (who happens to be the beer buyer at Beltramo’s in Menlo Park) shows up with with a magnum. Of Stone’s Double Bastard. Which is what we called him for bringing such a thing (not really).

It was a bit over-aged, but still had good carb and decent flavor. We managed to finish 3/4 of it and all our guests still walked out on their own two feet.

We had such a good time–Firestone Walker has been one of our favorite breweries for a long time. It was incredible to taste these all side by side.

Note that is a 22 oz bomber next to the magnum, not a regular 12oz bottle

On another note, Joe has for years worn a Firestone Walker hoodie (see intro above) as his main jacket. This Christmas it went missing in a Wisconsin airport. Now that his grieving period is over, Joe is in the market for a new sweatshirt. Put suggestions in the comments!

Tags: Beer I can't get my hands on · Tastings

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dan // Mar 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Wow it’s like being there again!

    I think Joe needs to reject the obvious for his new sweatshirt. Thus, no Speakeasy, Russian River, etc. I suggest Southern Pacific. Trains are always cool (toddlers and old men everywhere agree).

  • 2 Jasmine // Mar 26, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I like this Southern Pacific idea. I was against RR myself, for the same reason–too obvious. This discussion may be a moot point, however, as David Walker read this post and may just be sending Joe a brand-new FW one. We shall see.