Firestone Walker‘s latest barrel-aged beer release is a re-imagining of the brewery’s highly sought-after Russian imperial stout, Parabola. This new version has been matured in French oak wine barrels from one of Napa Valley’s most prestigious cult wineries.
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.
“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.”
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.
Napa Parabola is currently rolling out to all Firestone Walker markets. It comes on the heels of the 2019 vintage release of the regular bourbon barrel-aged Parabola last month.
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.