Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Firestone Walker Parabola 2013 at Sheffield's - If You Can't Actually Be at FW
Thanks to the good folks at Sheffield's here in Chicago for sharing with us some Firestone Walker Parabola 2013 the other night. Maybe it's because we're good customers, maybe it's because they know how much we love great beer, or perhaps it's because they're just great folks at Sheff's, but, for whatever reason, they decided to share the amazing bourbon-barreled stout. It is sensational and I can fully understand why it stocked out so quickly in Chicago. Of course, you cannot do better than Shaun, who got to visit FW's taproom this week. And, yes, I'm jealous.
As I predicted a year and a half ago, Chicago's slow response to Parabola's arrival was going to be a short-lived proposition, and that people would be throwing elbows for this beer once they figured out what it was. I got my only bottle from this year from a wine store. In a giving mood, the Sheffield's folks shared a current-vintage bottle with us. I would love to get my hands on another full bottle of Parabola; but getting a partial pour in a snifter was still marvelous. Bourbon and roasted malts fill your nose as you take it in. It's mouthfeel is rich and paved with smoothness. Just enough carbonation is there to keep the senses engaged. At this point of the beer's life span, it's bourbon-forward and slightly hot with alcohol. Coffee, chocolate, and a hint of vanilla make their mark, and blackberries and currants appear in the mix too.
Let me add that it is an absolute winning strategy for the great beer bars to purchase and stock bottles of some of the rarer, high-demand beers, particularly those in bomber-sized bottles. This model gives people an opportunity to try some of these rare and elite beers, and if folks are smart enough to purchase in groups, they can obtain some of the beer at a far lower price point than on the black market. Sheffield's has done this with Bourbon County vintages, and also with aged Victory Storm King, Dark Horse Plead The Fifth, Founders Imperial Stout, and others. I would like to see more of this although I worry about prices getting out of control.
Parabola's an elite beer and it's great to try its current vintage. It wouldn't be nearly as amazing if it didn't age so well. I can't wait to uncap my 2011 and 2013 bottles to see the other layers of flavors unveiled after the bourbon settles in a bit more.
4.8 of 5 stars.