Firestone 17 Anniversary Ale Review: A Good Way To Celebrate

Firestone Brewery describes its story like this:

It began innocently enough: a couple of brothers-in-law sitting around debating the subject of good and bad beer. Instead, their search for a decent ale led them to brew their own. Given Mr. Firestone’s winemaking bias and Mr. Walker’s complete lack of fermentation experience, they believed 60-gallon oak barrels were the appropriate vehicle in which to create their perfect elixir.

OK, so initial attempts were forgettable. But like so many great ideas, out of that disaster was born a handy invention – the Firestone Union. Based on classic brewing traditions from Burton-Upon Trent, this bizarre and unlikely system of linked barrels has the ability to produce rich and complex ales. In 1996 the accidental duo shelved their endless discussion on better beers and settled for building a world-class brewery that bore their names on California’s Central Coast……the debate was now over.

Here at Firestone Walker Brewing Company, we pride ourselves in making exceptional pale ales and the awards they have garnered has been proof of our brew team’s hard work and skill. More recently we created our seasonal series offering, the perfect accompaniment to the changing seasons. We’ve also added our Proprietor’s Reserve series of beers, born from our Anniversary program. These vintage and limited release beers are the consummate sipping beers, meant to be enjoyed with friends and family. They celebrate our many years of brewing and the very best of what we have to offer. Cheers!

Firestone 17 Anniversary Ale (13.6% ABV) is a strong American ale, meaning that it is warm fermented and bottom fermented, with a high alcohol content. It was created to celebrate the brewery’s 17th anniversary, as the name indicates. It is aged in bourbon and brandy oak barrels: the length of aging is not given.

Everything On Tap Review: Firestone 17 Anniversary Ale:

Bottle: The dark brown glass sports a handsome tan and grey label with white lettering.

Pour: The color is a dense, dark brown. The head is khaki-tan, about one finger thick, and dissipates slowly, leaving light lacing.

Aroma: This ale is best served at room temperature, at which the bouquet shows notes of bourbon, vanilla, cognac, ethyl alcohol, dark fruit, dried fruit, and even almonds. Delightful.

Flavor: Living up to the aroma, the flavor begins with molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, oak, earth, bourbon, brandy, currants, and raisins. This is followed by ethyl alcohol, yeast, and light hops. The complexity of the flavor profile in this ale is remarkable.

Mouthfeel: Unexpectedly, the mouthfeel is thick with moderate-to-high carbonation: a lovely surprise and a nice offset to the ale’s sweetness.

Structure: This ale has a strong, balanced, profound structure, that could stand up to even more aging or even cellaring.

Food Pairing: Pair such a complex, balanced ale with like food: strong, complex cheeses; roast game; Asian cuisine; or Louisiana Creole cuisine; it would also make a nice companion to Beef Wellington.

Overall Rating Out Of 5 Possible Beer Mugs: