Drinking & Thinking

Firestone Walker’s 19th Anniversary Ale

The state of beer is in good hands my friends. With craft breweries popping up everywhere and putting out beers of every shape, flavor, and color. Pushing the boundaries of what the beverage should or shouldn’t be. I am a firm believer that in today’s market there is a beer out there for everybody and every situation.


All this variety has the big guys scared too. It seems like every other week you hear about major players in the industry being gulped up by the big guys. Just this week San Diego based Ballast Point Brewing was acquired by the company that owns Corona in a billion dollar deal.


In this ever evolving era in brewing it’s still cool to see some of the major player still releasing limited edition beers that are hard for some to lay their hands on. Keeps the ones in the know still looking for their “white whales” and keeps the craft beer community exciting. There is an element of one upmanship, paired with the fact that it’s just beer that we are talking about, that keeps the snobbery out of the discussion that you inevitably run into in the wine world. (Something that I’ve been guilty of on occasion)


The exclusive release that I was able to snag for today’s post is Firestone Walker’s 19th Anniversary Ale. Every year since their 10th anniversary Firestone Walker has put out an anniversary ale of blended barrel aged beers that they have released throughout the year.


This year’s blend contained Parabola, Stickee Monkee, Bravo, and Velvet Merkin.



-Color: Deep dark brown. Nearly Black. Had some decent carbonation coming out of the bottle. Settled to form a nice head throughout the session.


-Nose: Toffee, chocolate, and bourbon but not as an overpowering aroma as I expected. From the bouquet I half expect it to taste like a bourbon flavored Snickers Bar. (Somebody should really get on that.)


-Flavor: Toasted oatmeal and grains, chocolate, a bit of caramel and of course bourbon. The nose did not disappoint. Not as thick on the palate but it still offered a great smooth mouth feel. The bourbon is showcased but not overplayed. Not as boozy as some bourbon barrel aged beers can be. However, this monster clocks in at 13% ABV.  


-Rating 3/5 : A solid attempt as I do appreciate pushing boundaries in the craft beer world and blending different beers is certainly moving the craft forward. As a beer itself it would stand up to most bourbon barrel aged beers as it is very well balanced and full of flavors other than just bourbon which more than likely is due to the blending of this year’s vintages. The fact that it’s a bit thin will end up rewarding enthusiasts that like to age their beer. If you can get ahold of this beer I suggest you do just to have the experience of drinking something from a group of forward thinking brewers.




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