Firestone Walker Brewing Company puts out some truly exceptional beers. Their Proprietor’s Vintage Series (which includes beers such as Bravo, Parabola, Stickee Monkee and more) can’t be beat and they make some excellent IPAs as well. Their Double Jack Imperial IPA used to be my favorite (determined through repeated blind tastings) but, in late 2016, they decided to retire their Proprietor’s Reserve Series of beers which included Double Jack, Opal (a dry-hopped Saison) and Wookey Jack (Black Rye IPA).
I was initially disappointed when Firestone discontinued Double Jack but I later realized that they were merely adjusting to the ever changing landscape defined by all the craft beer enthusiasts out there. Lately, the underlying attitude seems to be that having a few well known beers, even if those beers are excellent and highly rated, isn’t enough anymore. Sure, you’re still respected and people will still think highly of your beers but, if you want to keep that buzz going and stay on the forefront of what’s happening in the craft beer World, you have to keep constantly coming out with something new and exciting.
Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the past year has flown by so quickly. Seattle Beer Week #8 almost feels like it was just a few weeks ago. Yet here we are, with Seattle Beer Week #9 kicking off in just two days. Have you had an opportunity to look over the ever-growing list of events on the official Seattle Beer Week website? With so many events to choose from, many of which happen on the same day or even at the same time, you may have to make some difficult choices regarding which events to attend. Here are my top picks for Seattle Beer Week #9.
Things get under way with the Official Seattle Beer Week Kickoff this Thursday, May 4th. There are 5 stops on the Seattle Beer Week (SBW) kickoff tour. Things start off at 4:30 pm at the new Flatstick Pub location in Pioneer Square. The other stops on this year’s kickoff tour include: Beveridge Place Pub (6:30 pm and Cask-O-Rama will be going on), Brouwer’s Cafe (7:45 pm), Naked City Brewery & Taphouse (9:00 pm), with the evening closing out at The Pine Box (10:30 pm).
Firestone Walker Brewing Company has been making lots of changes lately. Their Proprietor’s Reserve Series has been retired, their Vintage Reserve Series is moving from 22 oz to 12 oz bottles, they’re 5 versions deep into their new Luponic Distortion Series and now, Firestone Walker is proud to announce a new chronology of beers: Leo v. Ursus, a quarterly series of bold, hoppy, balanced beers born at their Propagator pilot brewery in Venice, California.
Fortem, an unfiltered imperial IPA and the first release in the new Leo v. Ursus Series, will be available on a pre-release basis at Firestone Walker locations starting on Saturday, February 25, and will begin rolling into Firestone Walker markets, including Seattle, at the end of February.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company brews some of my favorite beers. I was dismayed a bit last October when they announced that they were discontinuing their Proprietor’s Reserve series, which included what was probably my favorite IPA of all time: Double Jack. However, I was thrilled earlier this year to learn that they’ll be putting their entire line of Vintage Reserve beers in 12 oz bottles, starting with Bravo.
As sad as I was to see Double Jack go, I’ve really been enjoying Firestone’s Luopnic Distortion Series of IPAs. For those who aren’t familiar with the series, Firestone is brewing a line of IPAs which will all have the same malt bill, but each new iteration will use different hops. The first 4 have already dropped and now, Firestone Walker is pleased to announced the imminent arrival of Luponic Distortion Revolution No. 005.
Now, Firestone Walker is ready for another first. All of Firestone Walker’s Vintage Reserve barrel-aged beers will be moving from from 22-ounce bombers to individually boxed 12-ounce bottles. The first beer up for the 12-ounce treatment is Bravo Imperial Brown Ale, which is being bottled for the first time in 12 years.
My craft beer World was rocked recently by the news that Firestone Walker Brewing Company was going to be retiring their Proprietor’s Reserve Series of beers, which includes one of my all time favorite IPAs: Double Jack. As dismayed as I was by the news, the announcement actually follows a trend that seems to be taking hold in the craft beer World. Perhaps you’ve heard the term being thrown around out there: The death of the flagship.
It seems, if you want to remain popular and buzz-worthy in today’s craft beer World, you can’t just rest on your brewing laurels. The breweries that are garnering the most attention and publicity are those who are constantly coming out with something new. Well, if you want to brew something new, that means you often have to stop brewing something old.
One of my favorite California breweries has hit an amazing milestone. This year, Firestone Walker Brewing Company celebrates their 20th year. To help them celebrate, they are, of course, releasing the latest version of their annual anniversary Ale: XX Anniversary Ale.
I’ve been enjoying Firestone Walker’s Anniversary Ales since their XIII Anniversary Ale release back in 2009. Each release is expertly blended together from a plethora of other Firestone Walker Ales by an entire team of experienced brewers and winemakers, and the blend is different every year. Some have been more malty and some a bit more boozy, while others have been more on the hoppy side. I’ve enjoyed them all, but I think their XIV Anniversary Ale may still be one of my favorites. I’m really looking forward to tasting XX Anniversary Ale.
Sometimes, saying goodbye to an old friend can be difficult. While selecting just one beer as my favorite is a virtually impossible task, I do have a few favorites for several different craft beer styles. Firestone Walker Brewing Company‘s Double Jack double IPA, for example, is on my list of favorite IPAs (double IPAs actually). Now, it looks like I’ll have to say goodbye to Double Jack and a few of his brothers. Read on to find out why.
Part of the reason I don’t have a single favorite beer or a large number of set favorites is that new craft beers come out at such a brisk pace these days. It seems you can hardly go a week lately without discovering one or more new beers on tap each time you visit your favorite craft beer bar or even some local breweries. Sure, there are some breweries out there who come out with their set list of beers and hardly ever change or introduce something new, but that approach can seem downright boring next to the plethora of breweries who are constantly coming up with something new. After all, craft beer drinkers are explorers. Most love trying new things, so we don’t tend to fall into the same rut as those who prefer mass-produced American Lagers like Bud or Miller.
There are far too many great breweries out there for me to pick a single favorite. There are a handful, however, that I would consider my top ranked breweries. High up on that list is Firestone Walker Brewing Company. They are masters of barrel fermentation, barrel aging and blending, and I have never had a single beer from them that wasn’t outstanding.
Now, as they prepare to turn 20, they have a whole list of special events planned. Unfortunately for us here in Washington, most of these events take place down in California so, unless you have the mean to head South for a visit, we’ll have to celebrate vicariously with some delicious Firestone Walker beers.
Summer is fading away in Seattle. Our temperatures are down, the rain is back and the leaves are already starting to turn. Heck, I’ve even already started drinking Oktoberfest beers (the official dates for Oktoberfest this year are September 17 thru October 3). Fall is still officially a couple of weeks away though, so there’s still time for a few more Summertime celebrations before we welcome back the grey skies and rain for months.