There are plenty of seasonals that excite even the old craft beer fans each year. But for many of them, while the nostalgia is there, the love for the beer itself (the aroma and flavor) just isn’t there anymore. That’s certainly not the case with Firestone Walker Brewing Parabola, as this beer continues to delight year after year.
Memory is a strong thing. It brings us so many joys when we think back fondly on so many experiences, and allows us to enjoy new experiences more when we think of how they build on the old. The yearly return of Parabola is one of those that not only brings fond memories but also forms wonderful new ones every time we experience it again.
The 2023 release is aged in equal combinations of eight-year-old Blanton’s bourbon barrels and 12-year-old Weller cheated whiskey barrels.
Black gold pours from the bottle and fills the glass with thick liquid. Deep-brown foam bubbles up a thick foamy head, which slowly settles with time. Clingy chunks of lace stick to the walls of the glass, with a small bit of foam remaining around the edge of the glass.
Big roasty malt fills the nose, with chocolate, coffee, and burnt malt bitterness blending beautifully, along with a touch of sweet caramel. Cherry, bourbon, a touch of vanilla, and oak tannins.
Dark roasted malt coats the mouth with chocolate, bitter coffee, and a touch of tart dark cherry. Caramel, sweet bourbon, and warm oak. The bourbon notes become stronger as the liquid warms, with a bit of booziness coming out of this 13.5% ABV brew. The mouth is left with an oily bit of barrel character and a dab of burnt malt bitterness. A touch of coconut and roasted cocoa nibs. Lovely.
It’s always great to welcome back this old friend. Each release is familiar, but also an evolution of the Parabola we love. With a rock-solid base, the brewers at Firestone Walker keep building on it with each subsequent release. It’s a lovely liquid experiment.
Snatch up a stash of Firestone Walker Brewing Parabola 2023. It’s sure to be a welcome companion until we welcome the 2024 release.