The “Best Mates Collection” is now landing, capping off the 2022 season of our Brewmaster’s Collective beer club. And even if you missed this season, you can get in on the action by enrolling in the 2023 edition of the club.
Heavy Things – Club Exclusive
Heavy Things is a barleywine made in collaboration with The Bruery and aged for a year in eight to 10-year-old brandy barrels inherited from a distillery in Napa Valley.
This is a beer that lives up to its name with a whopping ABV of 16.5% while still managing to maintain poise and balance. The secret behind it is a brewing trick that we borrowed from The Bruery – adding premium maple syrup to the fermentation process, providing more fermentable sugars while imparting a hint of sweet caramelly quality to the beer.
“It’s a practice we’d never done before at Firestone Walker,” said Barrel Program Manager Eric Ponce. “The great thing about collaborations is that you get to try new practices that another brewery has perfected.”
Bronze in color and with a silky mouthfeel, Heavy Things has lots of brandy character that comes through from the barrels being so wet. There’s a residual maple syrup sweetness, and it’s an overall balanced, delicate beer.
Additionally, Eric points out that the brandy barrels were “dumped to order,” meaning that as soon as they were emptied, they were transported down to our brewery in Paso Robles and filled within 24 hours. “This allowed for us to capture a lot of that fresh, wet brandy character right into the beer,” Eric said.
Brewmaster Matt Brynildson added: “Eric has really taken our barrel game to the next level. So many of these unique and beautiful barrels are showing up in our recent releases, and Heavy Things is a perfect example.” Current members can purchase additional bottles at our online store.
The story of this beer began when we matured a barrel-aged Saison with 800-pounds of white peaches for 11 months. We then blended this beer with a barrel-aged component infused with Trident Sage that was foraged at Angeles Crest Creamery in the Angeles National Forest. This silvery perennial is known for its bluish-purple blossoms and enticing aromas.
The resulting beer is bursting with fresh peach flavors and refreshing acidity, with undercurrents of spicy, herbal oak and a slightly earthy, funky foundation.
As part of the collaboration, Beachwood also released their own version of the beer – Coastal Bliss.
Side Roads – Club Exclusive
Side Roads is a masterful mashup of styles and flavors, made in collaboration with our friends at Side Project in St. Louis, Missouri.
Drawing from both the clean and wild sides of our respective brewing programs, this blend is equally comprised of our signature Bretta Weisse wheat beer matured in a French oak foeder for 53 months, a Sauvignon Blanc-infused wild ale aged for 34 months in French oak barrels, a hazy double IPA, and a hazy tangerine IPA.
The kicker: once the final blend was assembled, we dry hopped it with New Zealand-grown Motueka hops. The result is an appealing mix of funky yeast and estery qualities, with luscious flavors of peach, nectarine, tropical fruit, and bright citrus. Current members can purchase additional bottles at our online store.