Beer Review: FIRESTONE WALKER 805

Beer Review: FIRESTONE WALKER 805

Upon pouring from a clearly dated 12oz bottle, the 805 reveals a surprisingly deep golden hue, possessing remarkable clarity. The voluminous buttermilk-colored foam lingers for more than two minutes, creating an inviting visual appeal that contradicts the beer’s deliberately understated marketing strategy.

Aroma

The nose of 805 is dominated by an intense maltiness reminiscent of Hawaiian rolls. A subtle buttery sweetness, akin to a blueberry muffin, adds a layer of complexity. As the beer warms, additional notes of taffy and candy corn emerge, contributing to its aromatic profile.

Taste

True to its malt-forward theme, 805 delivers a rich and delightful experience with flavors reminiscent of honey dinner rolls and buttery muffins. This is not the off-putting diacetyl kind of butteriness but rather an oily, coating mouthfeel that complements the sweet maltiness. The lager-like quality, combined with its impressive cleanliness, sets it apart, while bitterness remains subtle, almost imperceptible.

Mouthfeel

The mouthfeel of 805 is nothing short of exquisite, particularly considering its modest ABV. Its silky texture and impressive cleanliness lend it a lager-like quality that enhances the overall drinking experience. The beer leaves an oily, coating sensation, contributing to its unique character.

Overall

While 805 strategically distances itself from the Firestone Walker brand, the intentional ambiguity surrounding its style on the label adds an element of mystery. The beer, described merely as an “ale,” succeeds in creating an aura of approachability, perhaps deliberately steering clear of the expectations associated with craft breweries. The brand’s website emphasizes a lifestyle more than beer details, a marketing approach that aligns with the beer’s laid-back California origins.

In reality, 805 closely resembles a German Helles lager, surpassing the typical American blonde ale in terms of cleanliness, smoothness, and density. The “light, refreshing blonde ale” description undersells its true essence; 805 is more akin to a glass of liquified bread, a fact that may surprise those expecting a typical blonde ale experience.

Conclusion

In a California beer scene saturated with bitter IPAs, Firestone’s strategic move to promote 805 as a malty, German Helles-like blonde is commendable. It effortlessly caters to the preferences of casual beer enthusiasts while unexpectedly captivating those with a penchant for German-style beers. For the latter, 805 may be deemed an unexpected masterpiece, deserving of consumption from a 1-liter dimpled mug.