|David Walker (left) was available to answer any questions and sign a couple bottles.|
We will present each course from two perspectives of the night. The beer portion is written by Isaac Grindeland, a regular FOTB writer, while the food portion is written by Erika Mullett, a food expert and writer who currently works at Blue Star. This is Erika's first post with us and hopefully not the last!
Beer : Course 1 featured Solace, a seasonal summertime fusion wheat beer. David described the beer as a Belgo-Bavarian hybrid. It was designed as a session beer but was originally around 6.5% ABV. They decided that was a bit too high so this year it is down to 4.8% ABV. Solace was a very refreshing wheat beer with citrus fruit and clove notes. It had some nice light Belgian yeasty characters. Definitely a beer that could be consumed very quickly. These beers are available seasonally in six packs.
Beer: Course 2 featured a duo of Double Barrel Ale (DBA) and Pale 31. Both of these beers fall within Firestone Walker's pale series. David Walker talked briefly about the history of Firestone Walker. It was started in 1996, and they thought all they would make was pale ales. There were about 10 years of struggle, but then their sales took off. Now they make over 125,000 barrels of beer with a new brewhouse opening next month. They also have a sour beer project in process. Yes! The two beers for this course both won gold medals at last years GABF. DBA was crafted after hoppy ales made in England in the late 1700s. They treat their water with minerals to replicate the water used to make the first British pale ales in Burton-on-Trent, England. They also ferment the beer in 60 gallon oak medium toast barrels for extra character and complexity. This beer is a great example of a very smooth and balanced ESB with noticeable but not overwhelming hop bitterness. Pale 31 is an example of a California pale ale, the style that Walker thinks started the American beer revolution. This beer, is what a pale ale should taste like, it's one of my favorites. It has a very light but noticeable malt backbone, amazing flavor and aroma of Pacific NW citrusy hops and a nice bitter, clean finish. Walker described it as having marmalade notes, and I have to agree with him.
Beer: Course 3 featured Walker's Reserve, a Robust Porter, 50% of the beer that goes into the bottles is barrel aged, and it sits at 5.9% ABV. Walker thought the best way to enjoy this beer with food is at the beach with a dozen oysters. Walker's Reserve was a very smooth dark but medium light bodied beer with notes of toffee, caramel and chocolate. A very drinkable beer. This one is available in single 22oz bottles.
Beer: Course 4 featured another duo of Double Jack and Wookey Jack. Double Jack is an imperial IPA and it is one of my all time favorite imperial IPAs.. It is crafted by using the first runnings of Union Jack, their regular IPA. The first runnings have the largest percentage of potential sugars for alcohol conversion which is why Double Jack weighs in at 9.5%. It has a medium-light but solid malt backbone with an explosion of citrus hops that bring notes of tangerine, grapefruit, and oranges. Wookie Jack is an unfiltered black rye IPA. It is very similar to Double Jack in it's hop profile and uses a special new and popular hop called Citra that gives it large citrus notes. The difference though is that Wookie Jack uses dark malts and rye to create a spicy and roasty malt backbone. The appearance is also different with its dark brown opaque black, beautiful color. These beers are available in single 22oz. bottles.
Beer: Course 5 brought with it the highlight of the night for me, Double DBA. This is a brand new beer to the Firestone Walker lineup, containing the same ingredients as DBA, but just a lot more of it! It tops in at 12% ABV and is aged in barrels for one year. This sipping beer was very complex. Rich malt notes of toffee, caramel, and dark fruit along with some vanilla and oak, riminiscent of a Barley Wine. Simply amazing. This beer is available in a single 22 oz. bottle in limited quantities.
Beer: The finale of the night consisted of the famous Parabola in a small coffee cup with whipped milk floated on top. Parabola is a very delicious complex Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout. They use 5000lbs of malt when making this beer in comparison to 1500lbs used to make DBA. Each batch of this beer is aged in 246 bourbon barrels. The bottled beer is a blend of 9 month old and 6 year old Parabola. It's wonderful, with amazing bourbon and roasted malt aroma that blend into flavors of rich dark chocolate, oak, vanilla, roast, and more chocolate. The whipped milk gave it a nice smooth character. Definitely a great night cap to the dinner. The beer is available in a single 22 oz. bottle in limited quantities.
Too soon the dinner was over, but guests were left with pleasant memories that will last and be savored for a long time.
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