Considering the first beer I ever had from Firestone Walker was Parabola, it's safe to say I was immediately more than impressed with the brewery. That being said, when Brewdog Leeds got their hands on a fair few different bottles of the Firestone range it didn't take me long to get on the bus to town centre!
Now a few of the bombers took my attention more than others, and below are my thoughts of what I consider to be the more interesting finds.. (these were not all consumed on the same night! this would be very foolish..)
First up was:
Wookey Jack - a 8.3% unfiltered Black Rye IPA.
On the darkest of pours this beer displays aromas of caramalized oranges, lots of brown sugar and the hefty (and obvious) amounts of spicy rye. There's also some lemon sherbet kicking about with watermelon, peaches and apricots. It's pretty much exactly what you want a Black IPA to smell like, and more!
Initially you get a lot of burnt wood on the first gulp but this is very quickly replaced by a huge tropical fruit flavour. After you're done dancing the hula pineapple fruit salad dance the spicy rye creeps in delivering a very dry finish. The whole beer is wrapped up in a bone dry bitterness which leaves a sharp tang on the roof of the mouth. It's this and so many more factors that make you want to drink more and more and more of this beer. The alcohol is completely masked too which makes this beer all the more dangerous! What a way to start things off! firmly into the top three best BIPAs of all time (that I've tried..)
Walker's Reserve - a 5.8% straight up Porter.
It's a beer which pours dark, but not pitch black. The aroma here is all about the dark roasted malts - you know, big time on the roasty toasty flavours you love in a great Porter - Dark Malts all the way! Lots of chocolate, some coffee and plenty of brown sugar (again) with burnt caramel smeared on toast.
On the initial gulp the immidiate thought that crossed my mind was that this was a very, very dangerous beer. The one reason for this is because it drinks SO much quicker and SO much easier than a beer that's almost 6% should! There's a lot of brown toffee initially in the flavour. Burnt woody malts play around with dry and roasted bitterness in another beer that screams "You've just swallowed, it's time for more!!" The body of the beer itself is quite light and thin, which adds to it's accessibility in my opinion. Porter? Very much so! And a little more English in representation of the style than some might think...
Last up is:
Double DBA - Imperial Special Bitter 12%
When I opened this it smelled like I was opening a bottle of whisky. The Bourbon on the nose is pretty damn extreme. Huge on the vanilla and solid lumps of hard fine brown sugars. The levels of banoffee pie is pretty starward too - SO much caramel!
The initial sip was a introduction to what is a very thick and rich beer. There is a lot, no, loads of Bourbon here, perhaps too much - it really does dominate the flavour. The ridiculous amount of bitterness that is still present in the beer still baffles me and the prickly heat of alcohol in the finish will always be a statement of the power this beer possesses. The thing that really took me was what happened to the beer as it warmed up though. Normally I'm not a fan of beers barrel aged which present too much Bourbon - I'm not a fan probably because I much prefer Scotch to Bourbon. But as this beer warmed I wasn't too bothered about the huge amount Bourbon, I began to enjoy it... It felt like I was drinking a very fine example of the stuff, and not just any old barrel they could get their hands on. This is where this beer wins. It has a LOT of Bourbon, but this time I can respect it's presence.
Once again, I'm left unable to find a beer from Firestone Walker that I don't find so interesting it captures my beery imagination, or is so good it puts other beers to shame!