I should drink more beer by Firestone Walker. Their logo features a lion preparing to bare-knuckle brawl with a bear. Do I really need another reason to support them?
Oh, I do? How about the added fact that they brew some damn fine beer.
My previous experience with the brewery has been mostly limited to their Double Barrel Ale, a fine example of an English-style ale (which happens to be one of my favorite styles). So I was excited to try another one of their offerings.
In a glass, the porter has a coffee-like appearance, a deep but not quite opaque brown. The head was fairly small. The hops and malt are well-balanced and pretty restrained, letting the beer’s caramel and chocolate flavors shine. The beer is nice and roasty, but doesn’t come close to being bitter. Despite a respectable 5.9% alcohol content, the beer is neither overly sweet nor thick. It has a comparatively dry finish for the style, and a somewhat thin body. It is definitely one of the easiest drinking porters I’ve had in a while.
The brewery uses an interesting system for the brewing process, which is definitely worth a read. The use of barrels lends a smoky, earthy flavor to a lot of their beers, with hints of vanilla and other woodland flavors.
Walker’s Reserve Porter has a somewhat bizarre jumble of availability, mostly the east and west coasts and some random spots in between. You can find it in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, and Chicago (but not the rest of Illinois).
I don’t think I’ll get to see an actual bear and lion fighting any time soon, so for the time-being, Firestone Walker’s beers will have to do.