Since founding the brewery in 1996, Firestone Walker has specialized in the rare art of brewing beer in oak barrels. In the fall of 2006, they released a limited edition oak-aged strong ale called 10 to commemorate their 10th anniversary. The experience was greater than any one of them could have ever imagined. They now present XVI, the seventh release n what has become an annual autumn rite at the brewery. Here is a little more on the history of this beer:
The Goal: To create complexity centering on oak, in a multitude of forms, by brewing high gravity beers in complementary styles, aging them in different barrel formats an then blending them together to achieve harmonious new flavors.
The Puzzle: To blend these various components (or lots) to create a synergistic whole that is great than the sum of its parts. This is done with the help of a few of our neighboring Paso Robles winemakers who are practicing experts in the art of blending.
The Inspiration: Firestone Walker’s oak brewing tradition and the connection with wine making. Of course, until the advent of stainless steels, brewing was intimately linked to wood barrels and vessels. Brewing has a deeply rooted history in the alchemy of blending.
The Barrels: The individual lots were aged in oak barrels, many of which were hand selected from premium Kentucky spirits producers Tom Girffin, who is extremely passionate and knowledgeable about bourbon barrels and beer. Each barrel lends its own unique influence to the final blend.