Tomorrow will be the third, and final, Friday the 13th in 2009 (the next triple play won't occur until 2015). On Saturday, we suggest you celebrate surviving yet another night of horror flick marathons by driving to Paso Robles for Firestone Walker's annual Anniversary Ale release party. It also happens to be the 13th year they've been brewing a seasonal special release, so this one is affectionately dubbed “13.” Sorry.
But there will be plenty of distractions for the number wary, with samples of the anniversary ale and Black Xantus (a coffee infused Imperial Stout), coffee from Joebella (it's their beans in the stout), “13” cupcakes and live music. This is one of those “sort of” free situations as the purchase of a bottle of “13” is required for entry. Still, this is a business, so no surprise there. A donation to the Greyhound Pets of America also gets you a smoked pork sandwich. Strange but true.
The “13” is a dark and stormy barrel-aged beer that hits you head-on. The beer is very light on the foam front with a delicate fizz and best sipped closer to room temperature, more like a wine. It was a collaborative project between Firestone brewmaster Matt Brynildson and seven neighboring vitners. Winemakers from Torrin Wine, Linne Calodo, Thacher Winery, Kaleidos, Lone Madrone, Tablas Creek, and Booker Vineyards participated in blending and aging the final brew.
Toss in a panel of tasters who offered their feedback along the way (Rick Sellers from Draft Magazine and Pete Slosberg of Pete's Wicked Ale among them), brewing the seven ales and stouts that comprise the final blend, and several months of aging in bourbon, brandy and rye barrels, and you've got a rather impressive — and expensive — beer.
The good news is that this beer ages well, so you can save a bottle for the next Friday the 13th (August 2010) when the 13th edition of the Friday the 13th movie series is released. And if you decide you need a second bottle to get through said cheesy horror flick, don't wait until next year – only 53 barrels of “13” were produced. You'll also be able to find a few cases at select Bevmo stores and a handful of other LA retailers in about one week.
Firestone Walker “13” Anniversary Ale Release Party: Firestone Walker Brewery and Tasting Room, 1400 Ramada Drive, Paso Robles. Noon to 5 p.m. with live music, beer samples, food and brewery tours. Purchase of 1 bottle of “13” required for admission ($21.99), additional bottles will be on sale with a 12 bottle limit per person. For more info call (805) 238-2556 ext 15.