Firestone Walker is expanding the number of its offerings available to craft beer drinkers in Chicago beginning today.
The new beers include Double Barrel Ale, Pale 31, Velvet Merlin and – later this year – Solace.
photo courtesy Firestone Walker
Below are descriptions of each, compliments of Firestone Walker.
- Double Barrel Ale – Our patented Firestone Union system uniquely incorporates 60-gallon American oak barrels into the fermentation process which yields beers of extraordinary character and complexity. This system improves the fullness of the palate, balances hop character and lends a clean briskness to the finish. The influence of the toasted oak also imparts unique hints of smokiness and vanilla, as well as a subtle fruitiness to the flavor profile.
- Pale 31 is an ode to our home California, the 31st state to be added to the union. Beer may not be associated with terroir the way wine is, but we believe that where we’re from impacts how our beers taste. This dry-hopped California Pale Ale represents the bold yet approachable spirit that embodies our state.
- Velvet Merlin is a decadent Oatmeal Stout brimming with cocoa and espresso aromas. This beer features a rich, dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor with a creamy mouth feel and wonderfully dry finish. The addition of U.S. grown fuggles hops contributes the perfect amount of bitterness to this exceptionally balanced beer.
- Solace is an ode to warmer weather in the northern hemisphere. A hint of citrus fruit and clove aroma are followed by tangy dry malt flavor and a silky finish making it an approachable and refreshing session beer. We bring you this beer unfettered, a craftily unfiltered ale full of flavor and perfectly constructed to compliment those lazy warm days ahead. (Coming this Spring)
To celebrate the new arrivals Firestone Walker Brewmaster Matt Brynildson will be in Chicago at a handful of events.
You can find him Tuesday at 6pm and 9pm at a pair of beer dinners at Big Star (1531 N Damen Ave.), Wednesday at Binny’s South Loop (1132 S Jefferson St.) from 5pm to 8pm and Thursday at Binny’s Lincoln Park (1720 N Marcey St.) from 5pm to 7pm.
If you followed our advice then you’re likely staring into an empty fridge that has been cleaned out of all of your summer favorites. No more Krankshaft, no more Oberon and no more Ruby Redbird.
And if you didn’t follow our counsel, no biggie, but I bet you’ll start thinking about fall beers soon.
Regardless of which camp you fall into we took it upon ourselves to compile a handy, dandy guide of our favorites for Fall.
With Fall Beer Freedom Day (#FBFD) rapidly approaching we thought now would be a good time to reminisce about our favorite beers of the summer before we kick the Kölsch to the curb, down the last Oberon and say sayonara to the Shandy.
Seems we struck a bit of a nerve yesterday. I’ve been at the tweetyspacing for a long time now (like OMG 2 whole years or something) and rarely have I seen the kind of response to a tweet as I did with this one. So, let’s make it a rule. Right here, right now.
We declare, from this year forth, the day after Labor Day to be Fall Beer Freedom Day. The day when Harvest Ales go hands-on. The day when pumpkin beers become perfectly viable options. The day in September when Oktoberfests are totally cool. Continue reading
Sierra Nevada says:
“Brewed using 65% wheat malt and 35% barley malt. This filtered wheat beer is light blonde in color, light bodied and has a wonderfully clean finish. This is a great choice for craft brew novices and beer aficionados alike.”
Sierra Nevada Old Chico Crystal Wheat
Pale Wheat Ale, 5% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
Karl: Before we get rolling here, allow me to take you along with me on the journey of this beer. The
El Old Chico, as you can see from the label, is “only available locally.” So how the hell did we end up with it in Chicago? No, there was no lying to the USPS. No shipping. No intracontinental trading. The El Old Chico came to us the old fashioned way – on a beer run.
"Only available locally." Read: NOT IN CHICAGO
See, my brother was working for Americorps a while back and took his rare time off to scavenge for beers unknown to Illinois. He came back with a trunk full of Sierra Nevada beers that I had never heard of – and boy, did they pay off. He kindly graced me with a dozen 24oz. bottles of SN’s Southern Hemisphere, and my other brother got a case of the
El Old Chico. I traded him 24oz. of the Hemisphere for one lonely 12oz. bottle of Chico – and having now had it, I consider it a fair trade. Continue reading
“Way smooth and silky with a nice wheaty-esque-ish-ness. Just the little sumpin’ sumpin’ we all need to kick Summer into full swing!”
Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale
Pale Wheat Ale, 7.3% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
Ryan: While I may be waiting till the end of summer to review this, rest assured I drank plenty of it this year. See, I made the mistake last year of snagging a six pack in early August and then I couldn’t find it anymore. So I subsequently hated myself until it was released again the following summer. That’s a lot of time to beat oneself up over missing out on drinking more of this great beer. So, if you are reading this and have not tried Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ I am sorry I did not reach you sooner. Let this be a lesson to you as it was for me last year. And if you have seen it on shelves stop reading right now, go pick some up, and finish reading while drinking one. Continue reading
“An American wheat ale brewed with Saaz hops. Spicy and fruity, Oberon is the color and scent of a sunny afternoon.”
Bell’s Oberon Ale
Pale Wheat Ale, 5.8% ABV
Sayeth the Guys:
Karl: Oberon will always have a special place in my heart for a number of reasons. I’ve spent numerous afternoons camped out on barstools watching baseball games during the summer, nursing an Oberon or three, afternoons and evenings on porches and patios with Oberon, and other various summer-centric activities where Oberon was close at hand.
Mostly, it was the passion of my Michigan-transplant wife for Oberon, and her nebulous yet very specific rules about timing the first Oberon of the season (pay no attention to the calendar or release date, when it’s time for the first Oberon you’ll know), and her exuberance for Oberon took root in me and sticks around to this day. There’s always a new beer to try, and I’m sure that every midwestern brewer (Michigan brewers for certain) dreams of an Oberon-killer, and yet every time late spring rolls around I start looking forward to that first sunny wheat ale that says “hey, it’s getting warmer out.”
But is Oberon really that good? Or am I being clouded (wheat ale pun intended) by good memories, a pre-craft-beer-website opinion or anything else that might have affected my outlook in the beer? The answer is…well, both. Continue reading
Last month I took a trip up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to visit some friends. My only requirement for making this trip was that we’d have the chance to go on a brewery tour. I didn’t have a lot of time to research which tour would be the best, so I left it in the hands of my very capable friends to decide. Thus, we landed at Lakefront Brewery, located along the Milwaukee River (Yes, river…not lake) at 1872 N. Commerce Street in Milwaukee. Continue reading