Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Company
Beer: Proprietor’s Reserve – Opal
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Character: blend of rustic grains, spicy yeast, and dry-hopped with Hallertau Blanc hops
Ratings at time of Review: BA: 88 | RB: 97
Metal Connection: SADNESS – Opal Vault
Here we have one of the three beers in the Proprietor’s Reserve Series by Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Each one of the beers in this series show off the ingenuity and creativity of their brewing team. These beers usually have complex aromas and flavors, but offer their own uniqueness by the addition of certain ingredients. In this case, they dry-hopped this Saison with Hallertau Blanc hops, which really added something special to this Saison. I noticed that a lot of my fellow friends on the Untappd app did not check into this beer. They missed out on a good one for sure.
Poured into a tulip style glass, Opal appeared semi-hazy bright golden straw color, topped with a near 2 inch white foamy head. This beer had high carbonation from the loud bottle opening, to the large fluffy head, and the apparent rising bubbles inside the glass. The head remained throughout the session as a thin layer atop the beer, leaving an excellent sheet of lacing down the glass.
The aroma delivered on the promise of a dry hopped Saison for sure. Very strong notes of grapefruit, lemongrass, hay/farmhouse, apricot, spicy black pepper, a slight banana aroma, and floral aroma make up the nose of this beer.
The taste has all the same notes as the aroma, and again this beer delivers on it’s promise. Light hay, farmhouse funk, mixed with the Belgian characters of spicy black pepper, and banana. There is a strong stone fruit/apricot flavor present in this beer. The hops appear towards the end with a floral, lemongrass, citrus grapefruit taste that sticks through the aftertaste. The lemongrass flavor is really dominant at the end.
The body is light, which I was expecting it to be slightly heavier. The mouthfeel is crisp with a good tingle on the tongue. Pretty heavy carbonation, and a good citrus or lemon acidity. The lingering aftertaste of the lemongrass works very well with the semi-slick and dry finish.
The one thing you all need to know is that I have a whole apartment full of unopened beer that I have either purchased myself locally, from trips to other cities or beer trades. I say this because Firestone Walker says to enjoy their beer within 120 days from their bottle date, well…I am way past that on this beer. This beer was bottled on 6/20/14. I am about 5 months past their recommended fresh date. I have to tell you though, this beer is still pretty damn good and held all the right characters to make this beer work as a Dry-Hopped Saison. I can only imagine how this beer would taste within the freshness date. I guess I will have to purchase this beer again later this year, and drink it right away. If I do, I will post an update on here to show my comparison notes.
Metal Connection: I actually had no idea where I was going to go with this review. I just went ahead and searched Opal in my Metal database, and shining out among the very select few choices was this song called “Opal Vault” by the band, Sadness from Switzerland. This song is from the band’s debut full length album, Ames de Marbre. During this era of the band, they played a Doom/Death Metal style with heavy and thunderous rhythms, and of course the signature raspy growling vocals being used throughout this album, mixed with a Gothic, Doom style clean vocal singing. The band would later play more of a Gothic Doom style before splitting up in 1998, after releasing three full length albums in their career. Enjoy Opal Vault by Sadness. A perfect song to be paired with this unique Saison by Firestone Walker.