Throughout the years that craft brewing has been on the rise, I’ve heard the name Firestone Walker bandied about. Not with reverence, like Lost Abbey or Dogfish Head, but certainly with respect. I recall them winning some award a few years back at the Great American Beer Festival. I may have tried some of their beers then, I don’t really remember. But I know I haven’t had any since. Part of the reason has been the inability to get them in the town in which I live. It finally arrived, though.
I’ll just say it now, I wasn’t filled with wonderment.
I had their Double Barrel Ale. It’s their version of a British pale. It’s an adequate beer. The crystal and chocolate malts come through during the initial aromatic escape upon pouring, as do the noble hops. It’s a good mix, really, not dominated by any one smell. The head is the right color and consistency of a good pub pale. The collar stays throughout the life of the beer nicely floating on the body. It’s amber in color, orangey-brown. It reminds me a lot of a Sam Adams Boston Lager although this is not, of course, a lager.
The body is, well – I hate to use this word from the chumps over at Craft Beer Radio but it does come to mind – aqueous, or watery. They state that there are vanilla tones in the body along with toasted oak flavors. But I just couldn’t find them. It’s a standard pale. Maybe I expected too much. Maybe there’s so much good beer out there these days that standard isn’t really a demeaning description. I can deal with that.