The pour reveals a clear, deep maroon liquid settling into the snifter, adorned with short-lived yellow foam that quickly dissipates. The beer’s low carbonation renders it akin to dark rum, with some sediment-like chunks gracefully finding their place at the bottom. Bravo’s transition from the former 22oz bombers to a more accessible 12oz bottle format is a commendable move, making it less of an exclusive “occasion” beer.


The nose of Bravo immediately introduces the essence of an American strong ale, showcasing a rich bouquet of thicker sugars, maple, Twizzlers, fall leaves, toffee, and caramel. The dark alcohol presence permeates the air, resembling more of a cognac barrel aroma than the typical bourbon notes associated with such brews. The overall olfactory experience is commanding and pungent, setting high expectations.


Priced at $13 for a single 12oz bottle, the taste experience of Bravo lives up to the anticipation. The initial sip brings forth the anticipated maple, caramel, and toffee notes, followed by a robust warming sensation from the alcohol. Remarkably, there is an absence of cloying sweetness or the common oxidized character found in barrel-aged strong ales. Instead, the beer surprises with a surprisingly dry profile, complemented by grainy wood tannins. The finish is swift and neutral, defying the conventions of the style.


Bravo’s mouthfeel is a revelation, with the beer undergoing a transformation as it warms. What starts as a rich and robust experience evolves into a silkier sensation, reminiscent of melted cocoa butter. This unexpected evolution is a highlight, providing a unique and delightful aspect to the overall drinking experience. Sharing samples around garnered universal praise for this distinctive quality.


In the realm of individual component releases from Firestone Walker’s Anniversary strong ale program, Bravo stands out as an exquisite offering. Recognizable as a crucial element in the brewery’s blend, the beer’s intrinsic qualities make it a standout in its own right. While its potential for blending with roasty or bitter counterparts is evident, Bravo deserves acknowledgment and appreciation for its exceptional character, making it a noteworthy addition to Firestone Walker’s portfolio. The decision to transition to 12oz bottles adds accessibility without compromising the beer’s inherent quality. Despite its premium price, Bravo proves to be a worthwhile investment for those seeking a distinctive and memorable beer-drinking experience.