I had a DBA last year; I only sort of liked it then. Now, I get it. It’s English; it’s understated. It’s not a screamer; it’s a mumbler. A hint of fruit, a slightly woodsy malt, herby hops. It’s crisp and dry.
§ucaba is the best. The best beer I have had all year. §ucaba is full of delicious. Off the top I got raisins and wood, sweet caramel and toffee. Then it tasted like chocolate and smoke with a nice alcohol warmth. Oh and some coffee. Then there was some bitterness and some sweet vanilla. Oh and then I tasted peanut brittle. And then there was some alcohol heat on the nose and in the back of my throat. Oh and some whiskey tang, which Sarah called soy sauce. Something reminded me of rye. This beer is up there with Fred, beers that I loved and really raised the bar for delicious. §ucaba is a masterpiece, a revelation, a really fucking great beer.
Firestone Walker’s Parabola is like liquid chocolate which is both a strength and a weakness. The dark, deep chocolate is met with vanilla and white chocolate. There is a hint of whiskey heat and wood notes followed by a roasted espresso bitter finish. And something like soy sauce that made Sarah shutter and gag. It looks thick, heavy, and flat, but Parabola has some nice tingle. It’s not mind blowing, but a really nice dessert beer. It’s not a beer I would drink by the gallon, but I can enjoy by the sip. Any more than a few ounces and the chocolate can get cloying and the alcohol too hot. But after you finish a glass it’s time for bed.
Double Double Barrel Ale sounds like an oxymoron. That’s what it is though. Firestone Walker makes a well regarded English bitter known as Double Barrel Ale, and Double DBA is a barrel aged, extra powerful version of that beer. Originally Double DBA was brewed for blending in Firestone’s anniversary beers. A few kegs of unblended DBA made it into the brew pub and people demanded bottles. So here we have it.
Double Double Barrel Ale is mighty hot. The alcohol was the first and last element I noticed. A bit of fruit on the nose — apples, dried cherries — succumbs to a nostril stinging edge. The whiskey and wood from the barrels come through with a chocolaty and vanilla tongue coating heaviness — all of which is burned off by the extra alcohol. I have had few ten percent alcohol beers with less subtlety. The bitter hops in the finish really push it over the edge. Double DBA is an interesting beer, with some good notes, but it definitely needs some time to settle and meld those intense flavors.
Barrel aged beers from Firestone Walker, all week long.
Wookey Jack is an interesting Black IPA. A creamy, citrusy head leads to a milk chocolatey middle and a grapefruit and pine finish. The pine is almost minty. At one point all I could think was: chocolate covered orange! The full body complements the chocolate but after it’s settled, Wookey Jack is more of a regular IPA.
Double Barrel Ale is fermented in some sort of wood barrel, other than that it’s a straight up English pale ale, subtle, beery, and a little bit sweet. There is a hint of woodiness, but it’s light. Altogether an interesting way of making cask style beer in a bottle.