I love whiskey, beer, and cocktails, but I never dreamed I’d be able to drink them all at once. Old Man Hattan is a unique brew, even by Firestone Walker’s already very creative standards. Brand new to their well-loved Proprietor’s Vintage Series, it’s a blend of no less than five beers in that series including Parabola and the gin barrel-aged Helldorado. But here’s the kicker, all of that ages for an undisclosed amount of time in cherry, orange, and aromatic bitters barrels with the goal of creating a beer that tastes like a cocktail. Actually, two cocktails. According to Firestone Walker, a cross between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan, hence the clever naming. This was originally only available at the brewery as a Black Friday release, but now those living outside of California can also partake. Is Old Man Hattan my new dream beverage? Let’s find out.
The beer pours a dark, ruddy brow with almost no head. One whiff, and you know you’re drinking, as the label calls it, a “cocktail-inspired blended ale.” Each set of bitters is detectable, with cherry, orange, and allspice poking out of an otherwise malty, chocolaty, and cinnamon-dusted aroma. It’s fragrant but still balanced and gently boozy like so many of the Proprietor’s Vintage releases. On the palate, things are well-layered like any good cocktail. The base is rich with toasted malts, cocoa nibs, and creamy vanilla, but on the mid-palate brighter notes of cherry cordial, orange rind, pineapple, and rose hip add an intensity of flavor that I’ve only experienced in a few other beers. The finish rounds things out with some boozy barrel notes, baking chocolate, and a lingering bit of cocktail cherry.
Exceptional stuff. This may be my new favorite from Firestone Walker.
A / $12 (per 12 oz. bottle) / firestonebeer.com