While the days of the walking ballpark beer salesman and his rowdily shouted pitch are gone, that doesn’t mean we can’t heed the call of two of our finer purveyors of malted magnificence. Many know Firestone Walker as a brewery to go to for a sure thing with its Double Barrel or Pale. Its saturation of the regional market makes it an easy choice on tap; our very own Sierra Nevada. But of late, Firestone Walker has been playing in the deep end of the beer pool more commonly frequented by the hops-mad fiends in north San Diego County. These days at beer festivals, they sometimes tap Parabola, a bourbon barrel aged imperial oatmeal stout at 13 percent alcohol. It was a dark delight at the Real Ale Festival back in June, surprisingly balanced for its wallop, and rich in coffee and whiskey. Here’s hoping Firestone Walker make it more readily available (it is also a component in its equally hard-to-find blended anniversary beers). While Firestone generally tends to avoid experimentation, Eric Rose at Hollister Brewing (Camino Real Marketplace, 968-2810) seems not to have found a beer style he doesn’t want to brew. That said, he does keep perfecting, and now has the heavenly billed “WWJB?” IPA on tap. While the rage of late is to turn the hops up to 11 on all India Pale Ales, this holds back a tad, and therefore gives you a chance to get a broader palate of taste (heck, there’s still malt in this!). It’s a “mere” 7.2 percent alcohol, so you can even have more than one and stand up to order a third. As for the beer’s name, let’s just hope the lord can take a joke.


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