Belgian Beer Board

Firestone Walker Primal Elements

Started by John B, January 23, 2022, 12:12:18 AM

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John B

Hi everyone,

Here's a beer from Firestone Walker, one of my favorite breweries. It comes from their Barrelworks program, located Buellton California, one of their three brewery locations. I've been lucky enough to visit each of Firestone's three breweries multiple times (the other two being in Paso Robles CA which is their "main" brewery, and the other in Venice CA), and this location, about an hour north of Santa Barbara is my favorite. This is the only location that produces their barrel aged beers. This particular release is the very first from their Barrelworks program to be canned. I ordered it along with one other beer of theirs, a collaboration with Russian River, of which I'll open up later and post my impressions in another thread.

Primal Elements is described as a "sour ale", and comes in at an abv of 6%. I'm drinking my first glass as I type this, so these are early impressions. First, it's not one of those "in your face" sour beers. Nothing wrong with those kind of beers mind you, and sometimes I love a good pucker upper brew. This one has more of a gentle sourness to it. It's very drinkable, almost dangerously so. The mouthfeel is pillowy soft and smooth. Primal Elements has pineapple, mango and tangerines in it's list of ingredients, and I picked up each of them while tasting, especially the tangerine.

Overall this is one very drinkable and satisfying beer. I'd recently picked up a six pack of Sierra Nevada's new Powder Day IPA, and honestly didn't find it very enjoyable. It's not a bad beer, but it's not one that I'd care to ever have again. This Firestone Walker Primal Elements on the other hand is leaving me wanting more. Glad I have a few more cans to go through, but I just might have to order some more.

Cheers! - John




Trappist

Hi John,
Thanks for sharing the two excellent American beers you tasted.  t_u
Both look absolute gorgeous and appetizing. By looking only at the pictures, you can feel they are refreshing and so fruity.
Firestone Walker sure is one of America's best breweries. I heard so much good things about them, and they touched my taste buds too with great memories.
The fact they choose brewmaster Vinni Cilurzo from Russian River to do the collaboration is a sign of quality !
About Sierra Nevada.
I notice lately that Sierra Nevada becomes easily available here in Belgian supermarkets.
Yesterday, I noticed at local supermarket Albert Heijn (Dutch owned) that their IPA is readily available, amongst other big US brewery IPA's.
American beers finally find their way over here.... which ofcourse is a good evolution  t_u if done with moderation  O:-)
Cheers,
Filip
"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson

John B

Hi Filip,

What I really like about both of these two beers are that they show that beers don't have to be huge hop IPA bombs or high abv stouts to be appreciated. Nothing wrong with those types either, but I like how these two are more nuanced and subtle. They were both very satisfying to drink, the kind where you can appreciate that the talents of the brewers have been allowed to shine.

A note that might be of interest to you, head brewer Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker has taken a year away from the brewery and moved he and his family to Belgium to learn even more about brewing. There's a link to an interview with him down below done while he is in Belgium which you might enjoy listening to. It's about an hour long, so grab a good beer while you're at it.   :animated-eat-and-drink-image-

I'm a little surprised to hear that Sierra Nevada beers have made it over there. I find most of their regular shelf beers are consistent, but not often that interesting. On occasion in the past they've made some interesting beers such as the various Belgian inspired Ovila series and a few others, but it seems that these days they, like so many other breweries, are now focusing heavily on IPAs. Like I said, I just tried their newest one, Powder Day, and found it to be ok but nothing special.

Anyway, here's the link to the Matt Brynildson interview if you're interested.    https://www.beeredge.com/podcasts/drink-beer-think-beer/episode-1-matt-brynildson-firestone-walker/

Cheers! - John

Trappist

Quote from: John B on January 23, 2022, 06:45:23 PM
What I really like about both of these two beers are that they show that beers don't have to be huge hop IPA bombs or high abv stouts to be appreciated.
Hi John,
It is much more difficult to make excellent beers in that category of lighter alcohol. Much more skills are needed, and that proofs the mastership of the brewmasters.
IPA's like Sierra Nevada are the flagships, and not exactly that limited or special. Widely available at still an affordable price. Could be the key for the export!

Cheers,
Filip (listening to the interview)

"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
–- Thomas Jefferson