Episode 51: XXII Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker
It’s the Two Minute Beer Review!
I’m Andrew Burkum, and once again I’m your companion as we face down that massive craft brew aisle in search of the hidden treasures we’ve been missing out on all along.
This week we’re taking a look at Anniversary Ale 22 by Firestone Walker brewing in Paso Robles, CA. Is this one worthy of a pedigree of twenty two years? Let’s find out!
This special release ale pours dark but not completely opaque with dark browns and ruby reds showing when light is placed behind the glass. There is very little carbonation, which means this one is likely very, very strong. The smell is immediately of molasses. The oak barrels in which the ale is aged are very far forward in the nose, along with plenty of brown sugar and pure malty goodness. Oddly enough, all the way in the background I detect something I can only describe as grape soda. No doubt this is a complex and intriguing beer.
But what about the taste? 22 is powerfully sweet and keeps that molasses that I detected in the scent all the way up front. In fact, this concoction might actually be too sweet for someone who isn’t experienced in barrel aged strong ales. The prominent flavors, as the sip develops to swallow are caramel, malt, toffee and definitely some bourbon. There are multiple layers of sweetness here, but it’s like walking into a candy store and sampling one of each. My experience with the beer leaves me wanting just a bit more bitterness, overall. I’m not even getting ay grain character through all the sugar in my mouth.
If I had to use this beer for something, I think I would reduce it down and make it into a nice sauce with which I could cook something desserty, like a bread pudding. But although it is a complex and intriguing blend of flavors at the end of the day it’s just too darn sweet for me to recommend it based on my own flavor preferences. This anniversary ale is sold in twelve ounce bottles and contained within a fancy box just like the Velvet Merkin that we tasted last week, and it even contains a nice lengthy writeup inside the box, talking about the creation of the beer and the different brews that were mixed to make it up. Again, this is a premium offering from Firestone Walker—that twelve ounce bottle will run you about thirteen dollars—and it’s available in limited supply, so if you’re intrigued enough to check it out I would hurry up and do so. And be aware that it’s a 12.7% ABV, so you’ll definitely want to sip and not guzzle when you sit down with this one. Well that’s all for this week, but I hope you’ll join me next week as I celebrate an anniversary of my own—the one year birthday of the Two Minute Beer Review! To mark the occasion, I’ll be doing a quickfire review of my experience and some brews from an interesting experience I had in San Francisco this last week, when I took a beer walking tour with a fine guide from SF On Tap. What happens when the tasting team walks to three different San Francisco hot spots to taste the latest and greatest that the City by the Bay has to offer? We’ll find out next week. Oh, and to celebrate our anniversary we’ll be doing a little giveaway too, just to show listeners how much we appreciate you. Stay tuned next week for details! Look for links to this week’s beer and brewery in the show notes. Don’t forget to let me know what you’re drinking and what you’re thinking about the show. Tweet me @2minutebeer with the number two or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you’re listening to the show on your favorite podcasting app, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode and leave a review to help other people find the show. That’s all for now, but I’ll see you next week as we continue on our quest to taste all the beer!
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