We are excited to unveil “25”—the latest edition of our annual Anniversary Ale series.
“25” is a tour de force blend of five barrel-aged beers created to mark our 25th anniversary year. Additionally, for the first time ever, we are releasing this beer in tandem with a limited Anniversary Trio Pack featuring “25” as well as two component ales—2021 Parabola Autumn Edition and 2021 Stickee Monkee.
The story of “25” begins with what Brewmaster Matt Brynildson calls “our annual rite of passage—the blending of the Anniversary Ale with the help of local winemakers.”
Watch the video below for a recap of the 2021 blending with our local winemakers and to hear Matt discuss the finished blend that is Anniversary Ale 25, then keep scrolling to read more about this annual tradition.
The Art of Blending
The idea of including winemakers goes back to the blending of our very first Anniversary Ale in 2006. “Winemakers are practicing experts in the art of blending, so it seemed natural to call on them,” Matt says. “They’ve been a part of it ever since.”
True to form, an all-star cast of Paso Robles winemakers convened at the brewery on July 15, 2021 for the blending of “25.” They broke into teams to create their own preferred blends from five barrel-aged component ales, then voted as a group on the winning blend.
As always, it was a friendly but spirited competition, with the winners not only gaining bragging rights, but also the coveted cardboard crown that is passed along each year.
Rising to the Occasion
Winemakers from the following Paso Robles wineries participated in this year’s blending: Booker Vineyard, Desparada Wines, Epoch Estate Wines, Halter Ranch Vineyard, Herman Story, Ledge Vineyards, Tablas Creek Vineyard, TH Estate Wines, Thacher Winery and Torrin Wine.
For the first time, the winemakers were joined by two members of Firestone Walker’s Brewmaster’s Collective beer club, who won the chance to participate in the blending session. Russell From of Herman Story Wines and Taylor Mathiesen of Booker Vineyard, along with Brewmaster’s Collective club member Paul Rios (with guest Christian Smith), created the winning blend that became “25.”
“The Anniversary Ale started as a small project, and it has turned into this cultural crossroads between our local winemakers and our brewers here at Firestone Walker,” Matt says. “We like to stand back and let them create the magic. It’s all about them using their winemaker sensibilities, their palates and experience to create something that a brewer wouldn’t.”
Once again, Matt is thrilled with the results. “This is a beer that truly rises to the occasion of our 25th anniversary. It represents many of the core elements that have made our brewery what it is today: exceptionally talented people, collaboration, innovation, barrels, hard work, patience and beautiful beers.”
“25”: The Final Blend
Parabola Autumn Edition | 14% ABV – Russian Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels (41% of the final blend)
Tequila Barrel Merkin | 7% ABV – Milk Stout aged in Tequila Barrels (28% of the final blend)
Brandy Barrel Barley Wine | 13.8% ABV – Blonde Barley Wine aged in Brandy Barrels (13% of the final blend)
Stickee Monkee | 12.3% ABV – Central Coastal Quad aged in Bourbon Barrels (10% of final blend)
Whiskey Barrel Wheat Wine | 11.7% ABV – Strong Golden Wheat Wine aged in Bourbon Barrels (8% of the final blend)
Anniversary Ale 25 and the Trio Pack are available online, at our three CA locations, and select stores nationally. Use our Beer Finder to locate near you. A very limited release 750mL bottle is also available for preorder online, and it will become available at our locations soon.
Want to compare Anniversary Ale 25 with previous editions? For a limited time, stop in to any of our three locations for a vertical tasting of XXII, XXIII, XXIV, and XXV, or shop our Anniversary Library Bundle Boxes at our online store.