Firestone Walker releases ‘Violet Underground’ Sour in Bottles

Firestone Walker’s Barrelworks line has collaborated with The Wild Beer Co. on a new barrel-aged beer called the ‘Violet Underground.’ This cross-Atlantic collaborative wild ale is made with California golden raspberries and French candied violet petals, all fermented with native yeast shared by England’s Wild Beer Company. Violet Underground will be available everywhere Firestone Walker is sold in 375ml bottles and limited draft starting this month.

More from a press release:

“Violet Underground is an intentional head trip,” said Barrelworks’ Master Blender Jim Crooks. “It’s golden in color yet smells like raspberries, offering a bunch of unexpected sensory notes that all come together in the glass.”  

Violet Underground is the second of four bottled Barrelworks wild ale releases slated for 2019.

Straight Out of Somerset

The story behind Violet Underground begins in Somerset County, England, where Crooks’ friend Brett Ellis—co-founder and brewer at The Wild Beer Co.—packaged up a stash of his native wild ale yeast and shipped it to Barrelworks.

“Somerset is renowned for its apple orchards and ciders, and this yeast gives you a sense of that with this distinct cidery quality,” Crooks said.

Violet Underground is ultimately a blend of two base beers—one fermented with the golden raspberries using native Barrelworks yeasts, and another fermented with the Wild Beer Co. yeast. Both batches were aged in French oak barrels from six to 12 months. The candied violet petals were added to six barrels, and finally all of the batches were merged to create the final blend. 

“A little goes a long way with the violet petals,” Crooks said. “They add this interesting botanical note to the aroma.”

The result is an improbable wild ale with pronounced raspberry aromas, lively cidery flavors and a suggestion of botanical confection, all converging into a dry, mouthwatering finish.

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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:

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Samurai Artist

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. Contact: