In today's booming craft beer renaissance, there are plenty of breweries whose reputation is staked on brewing one style of beer particularly well. Some brewers make a name for themselves by almost exclusively brewing dry, West Coast IPAs. Others amass a following with a sludgy imperial stout that pours like motor oil. While these brews are often delicious, one-hit wonders don't tend to fare well in the history books. Anybody remember who sang "Funkytown"? Right, we didn't think so.
Paso Robles' own Firestone Walker Brewing, on the other hand, deserves a spot in the Beer Hall of Fame [note to self: create a Beer Hall of Fame]. The brewery not only churns out award-winning beers like it's going out of style, but they do so across a wide spectrum of beer styles. This year, the brewery took home the coveted "Mid-Size Brewery of the Year" award at both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. Whether you enjoy mild English-style ales, floral pale ales, or rich barrel-aged brews, Firestone almost surely makes a beer for your palate.
Last week, Firestone rolled out Double DBA, a new take on their flagship Double Barrel Ale that has never been bottled before. The brewery took the original DBA (which is fermented in mostly neutral oak barrels), amped up the ingredients by a factor of two, and aged the resulting beer in used bourbon barrels. The recipe tweak transforms the beer from a low-alcohol English bitter to a 12% abv barleywine, producing a warming, sturdy beer with a thick, full body; pronounced notes of vanilla and toffee; and a slight alcohol burn in the finish. Unlike some barrel-aged beers which put the spirit front and center to the detriment of the beer underneath, the brewers used some artful restraint in the blending process. The result is a beer that is supported by the bourbon character rather than dominated by it.
Double DBA is perfect for those typically chilly summer evenings in S.F. We suggest pairing it with a dessert course. Pecan pie or a caramelized pear tart would accentuate the burnt brown sugar quality of the brew. If you'd like to avoid a diabetic coma, a sharp cheddar would provide an interesting contrast.
Look for Firestone Walker Double DBA to pop up at your favorite bottle shops over the next week or two. Distribution will reach stores such as City Beer Store, Healthy Spirits, Whole Foods, and Beverages & More.