“Funny how brothers settle things the old-fashioned way. Try Brothers-in-law. Who own a brewery together. Adam (Firestone), aka the bear, and David (Walker), aka the lion, may battle epically at times but at least neither ever forgets it’s for the epic love of beer.”

Firestone?, Walker?, wait a minute, I know that name. Yes, you do, brewers of some of the finest beers on the market, and even finer are it’s special releases and anniversary ales.

And today, I have the priviledge of trying its 19th anniversary ale. Every August, Firestone Walker invites local winemakers and close friends to help blend it’s next anniversary ale. Using up to eight separate barrel-aged component beers, every year is different.Firestone Walker 19th Anniversary Ale bottleFor it’s 19th anniversary ale, this amazing blend incorporated one-third Parabola, an imperial stout aged in Bourbon barrels, one-third Stickee Monkee, a quad aged in bourbon and brandy barrels, one-sixth Bravo, a brown ale aged in bourbon and brandy barrels, and one-sixth Velvet Merkin, an oatmeal stout aged in Bourbon barrels.

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber, the color is beautiful, a very dark caramel, leading to a light tan, half finger of head. Immediately I am touched with aromas of molasses, raisins and bourbon, followed ever so lightly with essences of chocolate, vanilla and cool brown sugar.

Firestone Walker 19th Anniversary Ale

The first sip is an explosion of flavor with lots of bourbon soaked raisins, brown sugar, figs and caramel. It’s a touch sweeter than I expected but nonetheless pleasant. In the background, other flavors emerge of toasted coconut and light chocolate.

Carbonation is light and the mouthfeel is coating, slightly chewy and leaves a very light alcohol warmth as I consume 19th Anniversary Ale. The balance is excellent, but as it warms, it becomes a battle for supremacy with the booze, caramel and dark fruits going to war to see which will reign supreme.

Firestone Walker XIX Anniversary Ale
BREWERY: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Paso Robles, Calif.
STYLE: American Strong Ale
ABV: 13.8 percent
IBU: 30
PRICE: $21.30
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottle
I wouldn't recommend missing any of the anniversary ales as they change year to year. As for Firestone Walker XIX Anniversary Ale, there's a lot going on, from the sweetness of fruits and sugars to the distinct taste of bourbon and light vanilla. This should please many people, including lovers of quads, stouts and fortified beers. Cheers.
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