Most of the time when I’m drinking, I’m drinking craft beer. I sometimes enjoy a cocktail (or even just straight bourbon), and the occasional glass of wine or cider but, for the most part, craft beer is my go to. My enjoyment of good cocktails, bourbons and wines though is likely a big part of the reason I’m such a fan of barrel-aged beers. There’s just something about barrel-aging a craft beer that adds character and a complexity that simply can’t be achieved without the barrel aging.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a master of barrel aged beers and they’ve won many awards over the years for their multitude of barrel aged offerings – particularly those from their Proprietor’s Vintage series. They’ve also become more experimental over the past few years, trying new grains, new hops and new techniques and I applaud their daring and creativity. Now, Firestone Walker is set to release their newest barrel aged experiment: Old Manhattan. This multi barrel aged and blended Ale is designed to invoke the classic cocktails: the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan.
Here is the full press release from Firestone Walker Brewing Company:
Paso Robles, CA: Get ready for the inaugural release of Old Man Hattan—an eccentric barrel-aged mashup of two classic cocktails: the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan.
First conceived last year as a brewery-only Black Friday limited release, Old Man Hattan now makes its debut as one of only six Proprietor’s Vintage releases for 2019. It begins rolling out to all Firestone Walker markets this week in individually boxed 12-ounce bottles.
The base beer of Old Man Hattan is a blend of signature Firestone Walker component beers, including Velvet Merkin, Bravo and Stickee Monkee aged in whiskey barrels. The twist comes from select lots of Parabola and Helldorado that were aged in barrels previously used to mature cherry, orange and aromatic bitters.
The result is a barnstorming beer that exhibits pronounced whiskey notes while artfully expressing essences of both the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan cocktails.
“Old Man Hattan is really true to its dual influences,” said Eric Ponce, Firestone Walker’s barrel program manager. “On the nose, you get hints of cherry, orange and clove spice. It’s extremely smooth and drinkable, with traditional whiskey characters of tobacco and bitter chocolate.”
As a cocktail enthusiast, Ponce had been toying with idea of Old Man Hattan for years. But since many bitters are made in stainless steel tanks, bitters barrels are hard to come by—which is why it took time for the idea to come to fruition.
Lightning finally struck when Ponce gained access to barrels retired from an artisan bitters program. “These bitters barrels are beautifully potent,” he said. “We really played around with the different component beers and barrel ratios to get everything just right.”
He added, “If you’re a fan of the Old Fashioned, Manhattan or other whiskey-based cocktails, you’re going to love this beer.”
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Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a pioneering regional craft brewery founded in 1996 and located on the coast of California. Firestone Walker’s main brewery in Paso Robles produces a diverse portfolio ranging from iconic pale ales to vintage barrel-aged beers. The Barrelworks facility in Buellton makes eccentric wild ales, while the Propagator pilot brewhouse in Venice specializes in R&D beers and limited local offerings. For more information: FirestoneBeer.com.
The Old Fashioned and the Manhattan are actually two of my favorite cocktails, so you can imagine how eager I am to try Old Man Hattan. If you’re a fan of good cocktails and/or a fan of barrel aged beers, then Old Man Hattan might be right up your alley. It should begin arriving within the next week or so in all Firestone markets, including Seattle.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.