Paso Robles, California-based Firestone Walker Brewing has a reputation for spectacularly complex and delicious barrel-aged beers. The brewers at Firestone have long drawn inspiration from the winemakers around them and that’s culminating in a special new release called Napa Parabola. “Fine wine meets a Firestone Walker legend” says the brewery in an announcement. Napa Parabola is a Russian imperial stout matured in French oak wine barrels, the brewery doesnt say what winery, only to call it “one of Napa Valley’s most prestigious cult wineries.”
More from a press release:
“Being an avid wine drinker, I always thought that Parabola would lend itself well to red wine barrels,” said Eric Ponce, Firestone Walker’s barrel program manager. “It was something that was always in the back of my mind, so when these rare wine barrels became available, I jumped at the opportunity. The winery didn’t want to be named—all I can say is that these barrels held some of the finest wines you’ll find in Napa Valley.”
The result is a singular beer that marries the French oak qualities of premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot barrels with Parabola’s own signature notes of dark fruit, tobacco and chewy roasted malts. The oak contributes a satiny texture with notes of spice and toasted coconut, while the residual wine character layers in flavors of cedar, clove, mocha, ripe berry and dried chili pepper.
Napa Parabola is rolling out to all Firestone Walker markets starting this week. It comes on the heels of the 2019 vintage release of the regular bourbon barrel-aged Parabola last month.
Parabola is Firestone Walker’s most notorious bourbon barrel-aged beer, with a lineage that dates back to 2006. With a rich, roasty intensity that can stand up to a variety of complementary flavors, Parabola lends itself to variant iterations. Earlier small-batch variants have included Coconut Rye Parabola and Parabajava—but Napa Parabola is the first variant to reach all Firestone Walker markets as a limited vintage release.
“While boozy bourbon notes are predominant in our regular Parabola, Napa Parabola offers an entirely different dimension of French oak character, and the wine spices and berry flavors marry perfectly with the beer’s roasted malts and chocolaty aromatics,” Ponce said.
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Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a pioneering regional craft brewery founded in 1996 and located on the coast of California. Firestone Walker’s main brewery in Paso Robles produces a diverse portfolio ranging from iconic pale ales to vintage barrel-aged beers. The Barrelworks facility in Buellton makes eccentric wild ales, while the Propagator pilot brewhouse in Venice specializes in R&D beers and limited local offerings. For more information: FirestoneBeer.com.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.