I’ve been a Washingtonian for nearly 20 years now. I love the Washington craft beer scene and the plethora of wonderful craft breweries in the state, but some of my favorite breweries are still from California. One such brewery is Firestone Walker Brewing Company out of Paso Robles, CA.
Each year since their 10th Anniversary, Firestone Walker has released a special Anniversary Ale. They hold an annual blending session, with both brewers and winemakers in attendance, in order to craft the perfect blend for each year’s Anniversary Ale offering. Now, Firestone Walker is preparing to release the latest version: XXI Anniversary Ale.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company has two different series’ of IPAs going right now. First is the Luponic Distortion Series, which is currently in its 7th iteration (featuring Australian hops), and then, of course, they have the Leo v. Ursus Series. Both series take an experimental approach, and they allow Firestone Walker to be constantly coming out with something new and unique – which is the industry trend these days. Innovate or be left behind.
Luponic Distortion Revolution No. 007 arrived just last month and now, Firestone Walker is ready to bring us the next iteration in the Leo v. Ursus Series: Inferos. An unfiltered Rye IPA that’s absolutely jam packed with over 4.7 pounds of Galaxy (and other) hops per barrel, Inferos sounds like a rye loving hop head’s dream. I’ve always been a big fan of beers with rye in the malt bill and Inferos has an almost unheard of 25% rye in the malt bill. With all that rye and all those hops, this sounds like a beer I’ll really enjoy.
Even before Firestone Walker Brewing Company retired their Proprietor’s Reserve Series of beers (which included their extremely popular Double Jack Imperial IPA), they started experimenting a bit more and coming out with some really unique and delicious IPAs. By the time Double Jack was gone in late 2016 we were already seeing the 3rd beer in the Luponic Distortion Series and, by early 2017 we got Fortem, the first in Firestone’s new Leo v. Ursus Series of IPAs.
Now Firestone Walker is ready to debut the 7th iteration in the Luponic Distortion Series. Just released in California and hitting the Seattle market within the next couple of weeks is Luponic Distortion Revolution No. 007, featuring three different Australian hop varieties.
If you want to get noticed in today’s craft beer World, you can’t rest on your laurels. You’ve got to continue to innovate and keep coming out with new and interesting beers to keep the buzz going. Firestone Walker Brewing Company understand this and it’s part of the reason they retired their Proprietor’s Reserve Series of beers – which included Opal (Dry Hopped Saison), Wookey Jack (Cascadian Dark Ale) and their wildly popular Double Jack Imperial IPA.
Around the same time they retired the Proprietor’s Reserve Series, Firestone Walker proceeded to release two new series of IPAs: The Luponic Distorion Series (Currently on #6) and the Leo v. Ursus Series (which consists so far of Fortem and Adversus). Now, Firestone Walker is preparing to release a new,limited-release IPA named Generation 1 IPA.
After retiring their Proprietor’s Reserve Series last year (which included one of my all time favorite IPAs, Double Jack), Firestone Walker Brewing Company embarked on two new series of IPAs. First came the Luponic Distortion series, which is currently on version #6 and then came what is probably my new favorite IPA from Firestone Walker, Fortem; the first in their new Leo v. Ursus series.
I’ve been enjoying plenty of Fortem since it arrived in late February. Now, I’m eager to try the next beer in the Leo v. Ursus series: Adversus. It was released at Firestone Walker back on June 10th and should start arriving on Seattle store shelves and taps any day now.
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.
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.
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.