Firestone Walker Releases XXVII Anniversary Ale

image of XXVII Anniversary Ale courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing
image of XXVII Anniversary Ale courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing

It’s a great time of the year for barrel-aged beer fans as many breweries are releasing beers in this bold, flavorful category just in time for the seasonal change to cooler weather. One barrel-aged beer that we look forward to every fall is the Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing. As the brewery celebrates its 27th anniversary, it has just released its highly anticipated XXVII Anniversary Ale.

Since Firestone Walker is in the center of California’s Central Coast wine region, it makes so much sense to utilize the blending expertise of these winemakers to create such a lovely bourbon barrel-aged beer. What these fine folks created is XXVII Anniversary Ale, all from the blending of five distinct ales aged in bourbon barrels.

“This beer was created with experience, passion and collaboration, sparing no expense to celebrate our brewery’s 27th anniversary,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “This may be our most eclectic Anniversary Ale to date—a testament to the blending skills of our winemaker friends.”

Ever since making the brewery’s inaugural Anniversary Ale in 2006, Brynildson has leaned on his winemaker friends to help create a complex and harmonious beer from a variety of distinct barrel-aged components. This year’s blending session took place on the afternoon of June 28, 2023.

“These winemakers are practicing experts in the art of blending, and it’s always amazing how they help us create a beer that is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Brynildson. “It’s a fun, competitive and spirited experience whenever we get together.”

This year’s blending session marked the 18th occasion of this annual summer rite. As always, the winemakers broke into teams to create their own candidate blends from a variety of barrel-aged components. Next, the winemakers and brewers blind tasted all of the candidate blends, then voted as a group to crown the winner that would become XXVII.

XXVII: The Final Blend
Brewmaster’s Tasting Notes: “The finished blend is deep dark mahogany in color and expresses decadent up-front barrel aromas with notes of toffee and cocoa powder close behind. The mouthfeel is smooth and silky with rich caramel flavors complemented by toasted nut, vanilla and coconut accents. There is a beautiful balance between a rich malt character, a top-shelf bourbon spirit and chocolate truffles. An absolutely stunning barrel-aged beer and a true testament to the winemakers’ skill in blending not only for aroma and flavor, but also for texture.”

DDBA Batch 10k – Aged in Wheated Bourbon Barrels (33%)
Imperial Special Bitter

Dividing Time – Aged in Wheated and Rye Bourbon Barrels (29%)
Munich Wine Made in Collaboration with Private Press

Bravo – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (13%)
Imperial Brown Ale

Rip This Joint – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (13%)
Imperial Stout Made in Collaboration with Side Project

Velvet Merkin – Aged in Bourbon Barrels (12%)
Milk Stout

image of XXVII Anniversary Ale courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing
image of XXVII Anniversary Ale courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing

The Winemakers
Molly Lonborg – Alta Colina
Kevin Sass – Halter Ranch
Along with Beer Club Member Ezekial Palmer
This team created the winning blend that became “XXVII”

Sherman Thacher – Thacher Winery
Janelle Dusi – J Dusi Wines
Billy Grant – McPrice Myers
Russell From – Herman Story Wines
Jesse Juarez – Desparada Wines
Steve Martell – Kaleidos
Bastien Leduc – Seven Oxen Estate Wines
Pete Turrone and Kyle Jury – Booker Wines
Pete and Alex Slosberg – Pete’s Wicked Ale
Cassi & Nigel King – Beer Club Members
Mark Smolyar – Hopped.com

image of XXVII Anniversary Ale courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing
image of XXVII Anniversary Ale courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing

XXVII Anniversary Ale will make its way to all Firestone Walker markets. To located a boxed, 12oz bottle, use the Firestone Walker Beer Finder. It is also available at each brewery location and online at FirestoneBeer.com for a limited time.

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