As summer fades, so does the percentage of beers that I drink that are IPAs. In the heat of summer, I find myself almost exclusively craving and reaching for IPAs. With cooler temperatures moving in, what’s in my glass is a bit less predictable. Firestone Walker Brewing Company’s Opal Farmhouse Ale has been in my glass of late, and I find that it is a great beer for this time of year.

Opal pours hazy golden, orange with a cloudlike head that is slow to dissipate. There is a definite hierarchy to the bubbles with the smaller bubbles on the bottom and larger bubbles atop the froth. The head slowly fades to a quarter-inch layer which remains upon the liquid.


The aroma is distinct and pronounced and can be detected even with the glass held several inches from the nose. The aroma is a beautiful blending of barnyard funk, bright citrus lemon and orange, coriander, and pepper against a discernably sweet background.

Opal is well-carbonated and medium-bodied. The flavor of the beer is true to the smells the nose detected. A clean and crisp lemon and orange flavor is noted by the front of the tongue. The peppery and coriander spiciness is noticed on the sides and middle of the tongue before a slight hop bitterness and a farmhouse funk contribution from the yeast join in. The late flavors and aftertaste are dominated by a pepper spice which combines nicely with a citrus hop influence.

Opal is 7.5% and would pair pleasantly with spicy dishes or bitter chocolate desserts. It would also be nice with a sharp cheddar. Opal is a year-round release available in 4 packs of 12 oz bottles, individual 22 oz bottles, and on draft.


The bright and fruity citrus notes make this a great beer if the days are warm, but the pepper spice and farmhouse aspects mean it’s also quite enjoyable as the temperature falls. I’ll definitely be grabbing more as I look to satisfy my not-an-IPA cravings that surface this time of year.


Outdoor Friendliness (glass bottles should stay home)…N/A
Aroma (pronounced and distinct)…9/10
Flavor (complex but balanced)…8/10
Style-Appropriateness (nice farmhouse with a few extra additions)…7/10
Alex writes a beer review every other Friday. Two weeks ago he reviewed Victory’s Blackboard Series #3.
Victory’s Blackboard Series

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