Firestone Walker strolls into New Mexico


We’ve been waiting. Yes, that is directed at you Firestone Walker. It’s been about four years, four months and counting since I moved to the Land of Enchantment. Four years and four months of stuffing my checked bags with Union Jack and Wookey Jack whenever I traveled out of state. But hey, all seems to be forgiven now that I can go down the street and buy it locally. At least, you may have won me over Wednesday night at the launch at Fire & Hops here in Santa Fe.

Tommy Dineen pours some special XIX Anniversary Ale for the table.
Tommy Dineen pours some special XIX Anniversary Ale for the table.

Tommy tells all (IPA fans, listen up)

Tommy Dineen, beer rep extraordinaire, sat down with us for a while. I was drinking the Luponic Distortion Experimental IPA (5.9% ABV, 59 IBU), and thoroughly enjoyed it. This IPA was hoppy, yet balanced, and bitter, yet drinkable, with hints of citrus at the end. Tommy says this is “Revolution #2,” and the hop recipe is supposed to change every 90 days to result in another experimentation. However, this one’s been so popular it may just stay a little longer. Find it in cans on shelves throughout New Mexico now. This was my pick of the bunch offered up on tap, and it’s worth rushing to your local purveyor to find out how much they have in stock.

What makes this Experimental series tick, Tommy explained, is how Firestone Walker is pairing everyday hops with others to form a unique hops suite for each Revolution. He said the ABV will remain the same each time at 5.9 percent, and the yeast stays the same as well. Tommy also noted that Revolution #3 is supposed to be on shelves in September. Bottom line? Find #2, and drink it up before it’s too late.

Firestone Walker Launch
Luponic Experimental IPA in the pint glass; Opal Farmhouse Dry Hopped Saison; Wookey Jack Unfiltered Black Rye IPA

This saison could convert this hop lover

It’s true. Firestone Walker’s Opal Farmhouse Dry Hopped Saison is really that good. A dry-hopped saison is choice number two, beating out perennial favorite Union Jack West Coast IPA. Scandalous! What makes it so good? I think it’s the dry-hopped bitterness that prevents it from being too sour or tart. Weighing in at 7.5-percent ABV and 35 IBU, maybe it’s the Weyermann Pilsner malt that balances this brew out so perfectly.

Excuse me while I pay homage to this black IPA

I’d be remiss in not mentioning how good — really, how good — the Wookey Jack Unfiltered Black Rye IPA is. This is one fine black IPA (8.3% ABV, 80 IBU) and a great riff on the traditional version of the style. Robust and hoppy, it is a rich mouthful of deliciousness that makes you want to curl up next to a roaring fire and wear flannel. Of course, it’s far too hot for that right now in New Mexico, but we’ll be doing just that when it turns cold this fall.

Firestone Walker XiX
Tommy serves up some of this precious XIX Anniversary Ale, a barrel-aged collaborative blend.

It takes a lot of wine to make great beer

Lastly, Tommy surprised our table with tastes of the Nineteen: Anniversary Blend (13.8% ABV, 30 IBU). Wow. I tend to be a purist, and I don’t really go in for barrel-aged this or barrel-aged that. (More for the rest of us! — S) But, this XIX Anniversary ale is probably an exception. Yes, you’ve got bourbon on the nose, but it doesn’t overpower the beer itself. Firestone Walker collaborated with local winemakers to add this blend to their Proprietor’s Vintage Series. Well done; I’ll be looking for this on shelves tomorrow.


— Julie

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