Seeking Solace

I definitely don’t live the playboy lifestyle when Merideth is traveling (or even when she’s home for that matter). My usual bachelor routine has me and the pups in bed reading by 7:30pm with lights out coming soon after that.

I’m not sure what inspired me to break this normal routine and drive down to Paso Robles for Firestone Walker’s release party for their new seasonal beer, Solace. Maybe, I was a little jealous that Merideth was in Denver. Maybe, I was a bit bored of my normal routine. Quite possibly, it’s just that I love going to the Firestone Walker tasting room and any excuse will do.

Reached a milestone on the drive to Paso Robles

Whatever the reason, late afternoon on April Fool’s Day, I found myself hurtling down Hwy 101 to Paso Robles. During the boring, almost two hour drive, I fretted that the release party was a very elaborate April Fool’s prank. I kept telling myself that even if it was a joke, I still would enjoy a pint of brewery fresh Union Jack IPA. The only thing that broke up the worrying was the excitement of hitting 200,000 miles on my 2000 Honda CRV. As I said, it’s a boring drive.

Pulling up to the brewery, I was very relieved to see a number of other cars pulling up also. Either a number of people fell for the April Fool’s joke or there really was a beer release party. Parking the car, I wondered what it was going to be like. My only frame of reference for a beer release was Pliny the Younger a few months back. I doubted it was going to be a repeat of Younger.

A nice-sized crowd at the Firestone Walker tasting room for the Solace release.

The tasting room was already crowded when I walked in; the most crowded I have ever seen it. I immediately got the impression that I was the most distant traveler. Everyone else seemed to be local Firestone Walker fans who popped in after work. Or, in the case of the regulars, they had been there all afternoon. All the tables were taken but I managed to grab the last remaining bar seat.  I ordered a pint of Solace.

The Solace was flowing

Solace is described as an unfiltered wheat beer. For some reason, I assumed that Firestone had bottled the Hefeweizen that is regularly served at the tasting room. I was incorrect. Solace is a brand new beer that Brewmaster Matt Brynildson jokingly calls “a Summertime Belgo-Bavarian Zwickle Saison…”

My first pint of Solace

But that’s information I learned after the fact. So, sitting in the tasting room drinking my pint of Solace, all signals to my brain said, “Hefeweizen.” I conveniently ignored that fact that both Solace and Hefeweizen were on the beer list.

Solace poured cloudy. The aroma was banana and cloves. The first taste was trademark Hefeweizen. But then, the brew kicked into its Belgo-Saison phase and the Hefe characteristics that I love so much, disappeared. Soon after, shock set in… I just drank a Firestone Walker beer that I don’t  love!

Needing some solace from this disturbing occurrence, I ordered a pint of my beloved Union Jack. As I sipped my IPA, I contemplated what had just happened. I decided it must have been an April Fool’s prank; a very elaborate April Fool’s prank.

Just in case I still needed more solace when I got home, I purchased a growler of Double Jack.