A Blend of 6 Barrel-Aged Beers Comprises Firestone Walker’s XXIII Anniversary Ale

Firestone Walker Brewing has again gathered together a group of local winemakers to make this years barrel-aged anniversary ale XXIII. Inspired by winemaking techniques that utilize various barrels and blend, these winemakers are tasked with doing the same from Firestone’s impressive library of barrel-aged beers. The result is XXIII, a barrel-aged blend of six different beers that will be rolling out to markets this week.

More from a press release:

“Winemakers are practicing experts in the art of blending, which is why we have sought their involvement ever since making our first Anniversary Ale in 2006,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “XXIII is super elegant and seamless. The component beers just flow together in a way which no single beer could have accomplished.”

Blended to Perfection

XXIII is a blend of six distinct beers aged in spirits barrels, including bourbon and tequila barrels—resulting in a smooth, bold and remarkably complex drinking experience.  

To create XXIII, the winemakers were divided into teams for a friendly but spirited contest. Each team was presented with numerous different component beers and tasked with creating the ultimate blend. Hard work and smack talk ensued. 

When the session concluded, all of the individual team blends were blind tasted by the group to determine the favorite. The winning blend became the basis for XXIII, commemorating Firestone Walker’s 23rd year on California’s Central Coast.

For the second year in a row, the winning team included Sherman Thacher and Daniel Callan of Thacher Winery, as well as Will Freeman and Phil LaMontagne of TH Estate Wines. They all walked away with the coveted “cardboard crowns” that are accorded to the winners each year.

XXIII: The Final Blend

Stickee Monkee aged in Bourbon Barrels (28%)

Central Coastal Quad

Parabola aged in Bourbon Barrels (28%)

Russian Imperial Stout                                                         

Bravo aged in Bourbon Barrels (20%)

Imperial Brown Ale

Bourbon Barrel Helldorado aged in Bourbon Barrels (15%)

Blonde Barley Wine

Velvet Merkin Aged in Bourbon Barrels (5%) 

Milk Stout 

Tequila Barrel Helldorado aged in Tequila Barrels (4%)

Blonde Barley Wine

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Firestone Walker is an innovative California beer company founded in 1996. 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. Firestone Walker is also the force behind the cultural phenomenon known as 805. More at FirestoneBeer.com.

Samurai Artist
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: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com