A Firestone Walker Night at the City Beer Store

Dropped in on The City Beer Store and the taps boasted more than a few annual releases by Firestone Walker. Ok, maybe I’ve been laying in wait for this and I bolted over when I got wind of it. And it went a little like this…

Abacus: The barely wine nose was loaded with a lot of fun sugar. A great, traditional granular intensity defined the body with a bitterness seeping through the sweet, barrel aging. A mature barely wine that manages to be intense and robustly sweet but not cloying.

XV: The bourbon flavors were cloaked but unveiled themselves midway, wood notes were subtle but solid, lush fleshy, peachy fruit nose combined with a wish of vanilla in the body, and curious nutty note somewhere. Solid heavy mouthful, brown sugary, vanilla, bourbon roasted into a near endless tail. And the bourbon and malt flavors were more prevalent as it warmed up. Where can I find a cask…

Sticky Monkey: A true rarity, mid-sweet nose, both carmel and lightly vegetative, the intense sweets of the abacus are rained in with british or reserve. That is, the sugary nose and body quickly crashed into a wall of complex and satisfying malts. And the lingering wreckage is a pleasant way to pass the palate, a bit of plum and hops drowned in darker, deeper tones. But there is no lack of liquor. You may call it boozy, I call it home…

Black Xantus: Roasted and yummy. I have written this up and it often ranks as my beer-at-the-end-of-the-world, so I won’t get too poetic here. As for the 2010 served on tap in 2012… The bourbon intensity has been cashed in for chewy, stout taffy forged in a roasted malt forge and layers of char. And yet you can still taste that insidious, vanilla bourbon somewhere. Dark and pleasing.

Firestone Walker’s expert use of barrels and even more brilliant approaching to blending barrels without smothering flavor (indeed, they seem to be able to accentuate flavors but blend the edges into a well knit medium) works well across there lineup. I love this time of year. City Beer’s current lineup satisfies in every way… so long as you have a little pocket money, a penchant for 11%-plus beers, and a palate thoroughly addicted to quality, thoughtful barrel maturation and blending. Kudos to Firestone Walker. –Nate

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