Beer, Space and Time: Firestone Walker Parabola
The problem is, this site focuses more on traveling to good beer than reviewing it.
So with this feature, I pass along a few basics about the brew, give you the brewer’s take on it, and then close my eyes and use my experience and imagination to write about where the beer might best be enjoyed.
Beer: Parabola Imperial Stout 2011 (13% ABV)
Brewed by: Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, California.
What the Brewer Says: Parabola ends up being as thick as any beer on the planet with a luscious aroma and taste that are only amplified as it warms up. This beer features bold bourbon and tobacco aromas and a rich dark chocolate, charred oak flavor. Parabola is best enjoyed in moderation and is a perfect beer to pair with those chocolate dessert favs.
The Space and Time: The least mathematical definition of a parabola is “a curve that is similar in shape to the rising and falling path of an object that is thrown in the air.” You cradle this bottle, though, carefully cocooning it until you arrive at your destination lest any damage occur to the precious elixir inside. You greet your friends at the bottle sharing get-together, ooh and ahh over the fine and exotic ales they have brought to taste in camaraderie. Then you pull out the Parabola. A hush descends. Smiles grow. The only decision left? Open it first, or save it for last. Either way, you win.
Fun Fact: The bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout takes twice as long to brew as any other beer that Firestone makes, not counting the time that it spends in bourbon barrels. Parabola requires twice as much malt to yield half the volume of each brewhouse cycle compared with other Firestone Walker beers. The brewers are forced to manually stir the two-ton mash to avoid scorching.
Where You Can Find It: On tap at the brewery or in a few select locations in California, while it lasts. If you know somebody who knows somebody, kegs are shipped to bars and restaurants in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Missouri, Chicago, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Only 3,500 cases of the 22 oz. bottles were released in 2011. They went quickly. The 2012 Parabola release will be in May.