You’ll see Firestone Walker’s XIX, the latest blend of strong ales the brewery releases to celebrate its anniversary each year, trickling into stores now. We decided to rustle one up from our cellar, and see how the 13th Anniversary is drinking after six years of rest.
A quick inhale of the dark cola-colored liquid reveals a smooth, complex aroma layered with vanilla, chocolate, mellow bourbon sweetness and traces of toffee. A bright raspberry scent fleetingly swirls up before dark raisin comes into prominence as the beer warms.
Cherry cordial pools over the tongue leaving rich chocolate in its wake. Vanilla combines with the cocoa, roasted malt and a semi-creamy mouthfeel to create the distinct illusion of a vanilla ice cream sandwich. The 12% ABV introduces itself late with glowing warmth that sticks around through the sweet finish, which fades into faint charred toast in the aftertaste.
This delightful brew may develop complementary leather and tobacco tones if left undisturbed for a few more years, but we are not sorry we opened it now.