There are annually occurring events that get me allllllllll excited each year – Season kickoff of University of Michigan Football, the Tory Burch sample sale and the yearly release of Parabola – a limited and delicious barrel-aged imperial stout from Firestone Walker. While chasing beers – running around town to find something the day it comes out – is not something I do, this is the one exception. It is, after all, the beer that started it all.
So there it is, once a year, I’m a beer chaser. And thats half the fun – daily calls to the guys at Top Hops asking for any news on a release date, relative short notice and an awesome craft beer-soaked event attended by mob scene of friends new and old. This year was no exception.
We found out on Tuesday about the Thursday release date and panic ensued, I had a volunteer commitment on Thursday night! Luckily, I was able to call in some back-up. I immediately hit up a friend who was hoping to score a Parabola for a bachelor party gift (on my recommendation). After he ran the statistics: how many people could fit in the venue, how many pints per hour would the average attendee drink, total number of bottles available, he agreed to arrive at the start of the event and hold down the fort until I arrived. For two and an half hours, he and his co-worker drank, made new friends, and worked the room collecting tickets – 1 ticket per pint of Firestone Walker purchased entered into the raffle for the opportunity to buy one of the 10 available bottles.
I dashed in the door at 8:25, volunteer work completed. As excited as a 7-year-old on Christmas morning, I was relieved to find that my friend had done his job well: 21 tickets!! I wiggled in at the bar to order a DBA and get 1 final ticket into the running before the 8:30 start of the raffles.
At a rate of 2 bottles per 30 minutes, the games began! The room was evenly divided between hardcore enthusiasts (here’s looking at you, guy who was wearing a Firestone Walker barn jacket and matching hat) and those who just happened to be in the right place at the right time (a big thank you to the new friends who shared our cheese plate and donated their tickets to our cause!) The winner of the first bottle immediately opened his winnings and shared it with his fellow Parabola lovers – the first sweet taste of the 2016 vintage. Round 2, a win for team Pearls and Pints. Round 3, two more wins!! Round 4, another Parabola and… wait… a Sucaba too?? When all was said and done, we had 4 bottles and long-lost friend had another 3. I can safely say that 70% of the Parabola sold in New York City is in very good hands. We capped off the night with dinner at Mission Chinese, a late night Uber home and I fell asleep the happiest beer nerd in town! Parabola, my love runs deep!!
Firestone Walker Parabola (2016): So many of my favorite things from past vintages are here – thick, round, smooth, caramel, chocolate, toffee. This year’s vintage has more toffee than years past. A bit of heat from the barrel age – less well balanced than some others… 2014 remains my favorite so far!
Firestone Walker Sucaba (2016): Only time will tell… gonna give this one a good long time to cellar. Check back in next year