Firestone's XVI Anniversary Ale. Here's an ale that should turn pretty much anyone into a Firestone fanboy. Even the Doxey has given his seal of approval.
So what is this all about? Think a 13% bomb, one which should be a slap in the face, but is not. Instead it's a gentle lullaby, one that tells you everything is going to be OK. It's one of those beers so close to perfect, you will completely forget about how much you actually shelled out for it. It joins the exclusive club, frequented by the likes of the Abyss, which any ale longs to belong to.
But enough of the hyperbole.
The XVI Anniversary Ale pours dark, dark brown, with a finger of tan head, and some lacing on the glass.
Sniff it, and there is surprisingly little alcohol to be found. Instead you'll discover a gentle sweetness, flanked by bourbon and oakiness. Put your nose all the way in there, and you'll find other details. Vanilla, certainly, and chocolate. Just keep sniffing and you'll dance with this for a while.
Having tasted this both on bottle and on tap, I was surprised to find the bottled version to be superior. Here you'll find a lot of coconut, something that was sort of hidden in the nose, and it actually dominates the flavor. From tap, I could hardly pick up on it. Strange. The vanilla flanks it well, with a nice oak hitting the back of the palette. You'll find chocolate and bourbon throughout, with just a little bit of an alcohol burn lingering. Not to the point you'd expect 13% to linger, mind you.
What really makes the XVI Anniversary Ale shine, though, is the mouthfeel. I can't remember ever having anything like this, but it truly and honestly feels like liquid velvet. Seriously! This is one of the smoothest beer I can think of, and it takes creaminess to a new level. It could be a result of relatively low carbonation, I don't know, or maybe it's simply magic. I'm willing to start believing.
The XVI Anniversary Ale is a stellar beer. It's also an expensive beer, coming in at around $20. This might be why it's relatively easy to find -- Yoke's on Argonne has a bunch stashed in their shelves.
But ask yourself this: Don't you think you're worth it? We think you're worth it. Go and treat yourself, just this once. There's no way you'll regret it.