Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Return of the Blog! Firestone Walker's Reserve

I'm back! As is usually the case, I got distracted by other life-stuff, enough to pull me away from the keyboard for awhile (at least for it's purposes as a "writing utensil", that is. The keyboard is well worn on a daily basis for my Digital Artist career...especially the Escape button, which I slam in frustration to cancel slagging renders). This doesn't mean, obviously, that I quit drinking.

But, truth be told, I haven't been holding out on you. Ya haven't missed anything.

It's been pretty par the course this Late Spring/ Early Summer, beer-wise. Nothing fantastic, nothing awful- unless you consider the Miller Lite my friends prefer, now with an additional punch tab, so you can chug it just quick enough to avoid actually tasting it.

So while I have sampled a few different beers here and there, nothing in particular has stood out. Aside from one, which is what we're here to talk about.

Walker's Reserve
Porter, 5.8% ABV, 650 ml
Firestone Brewery
Paso Robles, CA

Firestone's Walker Reserve Porter. From

Firestone brewery is one I stumbled onto when I was out here. I wasn't particularly familiar with brand, despite it's relatively wide distribution (especially for a Craft level brewery - you can get this stuff on the East Coast). Firestone claims that Walker's Reserve is representative of their "finest brewing efforts," meaning they consider this stuff their crown jewel. An "elegant dark ale," claims the website, a "porter" claims the bottle (a bit of investigation suggests they're more or less interchangeable terms, by the way), with lots of "complexity and flavor."

The first time I had this was in draft form at a Hollywood whiskey bar called Rock & Reilly's on Sunset Boulevard, an evening that included lots of whiskey and hanging out with Bania from Seinfeld.

Seriously. And he was awesome. Picture from imdb

In draft form, I recalled chocolate and cherry. In bottled form, there's an overwhelming taste of campfire and smoke. That sort of thing sounds sort of repulsive to your everyday beer chugger but smoked beers have become relatively commonplace out there, and they tend to fit somewhere between excellent grilled meat companion to "Aw, gross, who poured liquid smoke into my beer." Firestone wants me to taste "toffee, dark chocolate and caramel," but, try as I do, I really just can't get past the essence of campground. Ok, fine, a bit of oatmeal, too.

It is lighter than most porters when it comes to mouth feel, and a sweet head gives way to a sharp finish. But it all sorts of becomes one note by the end of the glass. I recall adoring this beer when I tried it at the bar, but it didn't hold up for me in bottled form. A bum batch? Maybe. I'd be willing to give it another shot, but for now, a quick summary: see Walker's Reserve on tap, by some chance, and it's worth experiencing. Bottle you can skip.

Until next time, Chuggers.