Founded in 1996 by Adam Firestone and David Walker, the Paso Robles-based Firestone Walker Brewing Co. has wowed the craft community with its offerings for 22 years. The Anniversary Ale that it has produced for 13 years is no exception.
Each year, Firestone Walker releases an Anniversary Ale, a blend of various other beers from the breweries.
This year, the blend contains familiar names and a few new additions. The final blend was decided on Sept. 4, with Firestone Walker sitting down with some of their favorite winemakers and tasting and deciding what the final product should be.
Anniversary Ale XXII is made up of the following:
- 44 percent Stickee Monkee, a Central Coast quad aged in bourbon barrels
- 22 percent Parabola, a Russian imperial oatmeal stout aged in bourbon barrels
- 22 percent Bravo, an imperial brown ale aged in bourbon barrels
- 7 percent Helldorado, a blonde barleywine aged in rum barrels
- 5 percent Gin Barrel-Aged Helldorado,
Poured from a 12-ounce bottle, the color is a very dark brown with very light tinges of deep mahogany along the extreme outer edges and a light tan head. Aroma hits hard with bourbon with cool vanilla and damp leather in the background.
Anniversary Ale XXII tastes complex with vanilla, coconut, light bitterness and black figs being the major players. On the back end, I get a bit of herbs and a little medicinal taste and if I concentrate real hard, I can pick up a bit of juniper from the gin barrels. Of all the beers, the Stickee Monkee is definitely the taste leader in this five beer blend.
The mouthfeel is heavy and coating and remains this way until the very end with a bit of residual sugar also. Carbonation is light and the finish is slightly sweet but not overpowering with the bourbon barrel up front and the rum barrel making a late appearance.