The brewers at Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, California, have been consistently excellent with their special releases. Parabola, their annual Imperial Stout, is among the best examples of the breed. No surprise then that their 18th Anniversary Ale, which contains a Parabola blend and is aged in oak barrels, is absolutely stunning.
The entire blend contains other beers as well including a barley wine, a brown, and dark IPA. The result is so fantastically balanced and completely focused that it defies any rational explanation. As a kid, I used to mix sodas into a single cup at Sizzler, and nothing ever came out this good.
Although it is strong at 13% and extremely complex, I’d actually say this could be a really good gateway beer for casual drinkers. It’s so smooth and balanced that even its high strength isn’t very obtrusive. This is truly an example of craft brewing at its absolute finest. 5/5. I sincerely hope you can find a bottle of this somewhere. Worth every penny.