BRINGING DOWN THE FARMHOUSE: Firestone Walker Releases “Opal” Dry-Hopped Saison
March 10, 2014
Firestone Walker Brewing Company is going back to the farm with the release of Opal, a rootsy, rustic dry-hopped saison that merges Belgian tradition with West Coast style.
“We’ve been playing around with farmhouse ales for years, exploring and fine tuning all sorts of variations,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “With Opal, we are finally ready to make the jump to our first-ever bottled saison.”
Starting this month, Opal will be available in 22-ounce bottles in select markets across the United States with a suggested retail price of $5.99. Opal will also be available at select draft accounts.
Opal is an unfiltered interpretation of the classic saisons that originated from the farmhouses of southern Belgium’s Wallonia region, dating back to the 1700s.
In true agrarian beer fashion, Opal is loaded with rustic grains and spicy Belgian yeastiness, with a hazy namesake opalescence in the glass. Into this mix comes a dimension of dry-hopped brightness, layering in notes of fragrant citrus and tropical fruit.
“Don’t expect a lot of bitterness,” Brynildson said. “The dry-hopping is geared toward creating this zesty, lemony floral Sauv Blanc aroma, which provides an intriguing complement to the estery clove character of the saison yeast.”
Opal’s Ingredients (or Most of Them)
Opal is brewed in stainless steel with Belgian saison yeast and Weyermann Pilsner malt as well as malted and unmalted wheat. Styrian Golding and Amarillo provide the hop base, with dry hopping courtesy of Hallertau Blanc. “We’re usually very transparent when it comes to the ingredients of our beers,” Brynildson said. “But Belgian brewers tend to be a bit cagey with the details, and that’s what gives a lot of farmhouse ales their mystique. So if there’s a secret spice in Opal, I’m not telling.”
Inviting lemongrass and gooseberry meet peppery spice and fresh grain aromas. Spicy Belgian yeast create a complex yet dry canvas with splashes of citrus and stone fruit with a bright tropical white wine finish. Hop bitterness is assertive yet harmonious, rounding out as slightly tart and refreshing.
Availability: Year Round
ABV: 7.5% IBU: 35 Color: 4 SRM
Retail: $5.99 / 22oz Bottle
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