Several members of the A Beer a Day team attended the Firestone Walker event at Rattle n Hum in NYC last week. It was great to meet the guys and get together to talk beer and knock back a few great brews from one of my favorite West Coast breweries. The tap list was impressive. The star of the show was Parabola, Firestone Walker's top of the line bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. It's right up there with other top end stouts, including Bourbon County and KBS. It weighs in at 13.0% ABV but drinks much easier than that would indicate. It is really smooth. Strong smells of chocolate and tasting notes of the oakey vanilla bourbon flavor you hope for in a bourbon barrel aged stout. The finish was a little more bitter, with some tobacco notes like you'd get from a cigar. Parabola is now firmly entrenched in my top tier of beers.
I also tried Firestone Walker's Agrestic. This is a sour red ale with a tart, refreshing cherry fruit flavor. Definitely a sour i'd drink again if i see it available.
Here in NYC, the summer is sadly almost over with Labor Day just a day away. As the fall begins so does pumpkin beer season. My favorite pumpkin beer, by a long shot, and one of my favorite of all seasonal beers is Southern Tier's Pumking. It must be a lot of other people's favorite too because it is now readily available in the city. My local supermarket in LIC, Food Cellar, has already had two shipments in, and the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle had quite the Pumking display. I had my first Pumking of the season this weekend when i brought up to share with some friends at their lake house up in the Adirondacks on Lake Sacandaga. It was nice and cool at night, making it feel like autumn came early, perfect for Pumking. It was as good as remembered, and one of many more to be had in the coming months. I'm also looking forward to a Pumking vertical with Scott and Mike, where we'll go back in time to 2011 to taste some well aged king.
What's your favorite seasonal beer? Let us know in the comments section!
A note from Scott:
The Firestone Walker tasting was a great experience. We had a big group together to taste Parabola, Stickee Monkee, Double Jack, Agrestic and more. I personally went with the Parabola and Agrestic, and both were phenomenal.
The Parabola was served on tap and poured into an 8 oz pony glass. Poured a deep black color with a thin tan foam head. Smells were of bourbon, tobacco and dark fruits. Carbonation was light with a very full body. Taste was like the smell. Rich bourbon leads the way, with dark fruits such as raisins, figs or plums complement with hints of tobacco. There was a certain creaminess to it as well. Finished with mostly bourbon. Overall, this beer was one of the best I have ever had. Definitely gets a 100/100 in my book, and in terms of stouts is only behind Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee (though may even be tied). If you ever have the opportunity to buy a bottle or try this on tap, but as many as you can. You will not be disappointed
As Eric alluded to, we will do a Pumking vertical tasting soon to see the effects of aging on the beer. I have had the "King" a few times already this almost-fall season, and will need to stock up soon since it flies off the shelves. Additionally, I plan on doing a fall-seasonal article at some point in the next few weeks. As Eric said, we would love to hear about our viewers favorite seasonal beers. Please let us know in the comments section either here or on Facebook. If there is anything you'd like us to try and review we can do that too!
Scott & Eric