Many craft breweries have a reputation for making a host of solid beers, but specialize in one or two categories. Some are known almost exclusively for sour brews (Cascade), or farmhouse ales (Upright), or perhaps hop bombs (Alpine). Every once in a while, however, a brewery displays a Midas Touch across a broad spectrum of beer styles -- our own Russian River Brewery comes to mind. In addition to winning gobs of medals for individual brews, these obnoxiously talented brewers often take home the major hardware at competitions like the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup -- titles such as "Brewery of the Year" or "Brewer of the Year." We'd be hard-pressed to think of a more deservedly decorated outfit than Firestone Walker Brewery.
Quenching hoppy brews? You bet. Lush dark beers? Check. Barrel-aged brews? One of the best in the biz. And, with Firestone's new Barrelworks facility, the brewery has dived head-first into wild and sour creations. As if that weren't enough, the brewery has garnered a reputation for throwing one of the most exciting festivals in the country, the Firestone Walker Invitational Beerfest. Unlike most festivals that highlight beers that are available locally (and there's certainly nothing wrong with that!), this festival attracts a cadre of hand-picked breweries from around the country (and beyond) to showcase their most rare, geeky beers.
As a sort of victory lap, Firestone Walker has released its own unique take on a German Pilsner. A light, bready malt backbone paves the way for herbaceous, spicy Spalter Select and Magnum hops. In experimental American fashion, the beer is dry hopped with grassy Saphir hops. The result is a decidedly hop-forward beer with high drinkability. This crisp lager couldn't be further from Firestone's enormous, bourbon barrel-aged creations, but is equally satisfying depending upon mood and season. We don't know which style Firestone will attempt to conquer next, but we'll take the safe bet and predict that they nail it.
Pivo Hoppy Pils is on shelves in 6-packs now. Pairs well with freshly cut grass and tank tops.