Firestone Walker Royal Street: a beer like nothing you have ever tried, there’s a reason for that


I want you to imagine a beer that so thoroughly accomplishes its goal, that each sip is worse than the last. Suppose you wanted to replicate a Sazerac cocktail so badly that you would sacrifice the customer in the process. Welcome to Royal Street.

I promised myself that I would leave these cocktail beers well enough alone. When I tasted this absinthe, floral, anise bomb, I simply could not. This tastes like nothing you have ever tried and perhaps there is a reason for that. In their Icarian quest to turn strong ales into speakeasy drinks, the wax wings don’t even drip the bottle. I imagine this started out as maybe Helldorado, who knows, maybe even Stickee Monkee. It really doesn’t matter for it was impressed into a life of cocktail servitude.

It is ambitious to take casks of cognac, rye, bitters, and absinthe and age strong ales in them. If Dogfish head has taught us anything, ambition doesn’t equate with deliciousness.

This beer is so singularly bizarre and confounding it is difficult to describe. The first sip is absolutely magical if only for how perplexing it is to drink Tommy Girl perfume. It is both herbaceous, dripping in peanut brittle and lemon pledge, and Pine Sol. It certainly doesn’t taste like beer, but the novelty becomes increasingly difficult to tolerate as you trudge forward.

The more you sip, you pull this good and plenty thread and things begin to quickly unwravel. This is the beer your coworkers try and go “this? This is what you like right?” And you stammer and explain no, things kinda like this, I mean, just not conifer fusel body wash. They nod and judge you.

The swallow is hot and clinical. It feels like a prescribed tonic or something to ward off “the vapors.” It feels like a cocktail, but certainly not a Sazerac. It is akin to some eastern European health serum made with Ararat and Ouzo spiked with Yuzu. Casual friends will cough and strike their chest with a closed fist after tasting this and wonder if you have taken your hobby too far because you obviously have.

I did not renew the $600 Firestone Walker reserve society but I am not here to tell you how to live your life. Go enjoy these herbal Mykonos kisses.

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