Hot Flavor: Fireman’s Brew Craft Beer

Firemans Brew

Want to raise a pint and support a great charity at the same time? And oh yes, experience vibrant beer flavor, too? The National Fallen Firefighters is the worthy nonprofit; the beer is Fireman’s Brew.

Headquartered in Woodland Hills, Calif., Fireman’s Brew Inc. began as the home brewing inspiration of Los Angeles County firefighters Rob Nowaczyk and Ed Walker. Goodwill toward firefighters might have started their brewery down the road of profitability, but the beer itself is what keeps it there.

The idea for the company began when the fire-fighting friends were relaxing on a local hillside after extinguishing a brush fire – and longing for a brew. That was the genesis of their idea, and the spot where they coined marketing slogans like “Extinguish Your Thirst.”

Along with their variety of beers, Nowaczyk and Walker have crafted a superior blend o coffee, and root beer, cream soda, and black cherry soda, too. Both their beers and their flavorful sodas and coffee are made using all-natural ingredients. But it’s the beers that drive their company, and “Ignite the Party,” as their other main marketing slogan suggests.

Fireman’s Blonde beer is their original and lightest Pilsner-style lager, golden in color, light, malty but well-balanced with Saaz hops. The aroma is a mellow, freshly-baked bread scent, and the flavor has a nice citrus and floral bite. The clean, dry, grassy taste has no bitter edge, and the brew has a relatively low 5.0% ABV.

The Brunette has a significantly higher ABV of 8.0% and a rich, layered flavor. Chocolate malt and heady, just barely bitter hops create a vibrant German Doublebock. Surprisingly light when consumed, the beer has a redolent sweet, malted aroma, and the chocolate tastes like a dark, high-cacao baking chocolate. Despite the complex flavors, Fireman’s Brew Brunette finishes up crisp, and refreshing, not heavy.

The Redhead is a red-brown amber ale, with a smooth but strong malt – it contains three, in fact – and caramel flavor. This beer has a scent of caramel, toffee, and toast, and it also has an airy, nutty taste, edged with brown sugar, a hint of citrus, chocolate, and, of course, caramel. An earthy hop edge comes from the Yakima Valley hops used in brewing. This textured beer weighs in at 5.5% ABV.

Officially begun in 2007, Fireman’s Brew has expanded from its founders hand delivering beer to a few local accounts to distribution in fourteen states. Their goal is accessible, quality taste – and charitable support. The company is currently offering private stock and has before, with many of its investors members of the firefighting community.

Overall, it’s the personal touch that has paid off. The founders describe their three signature brews as styles of beer they like to consume, and brews in development are likewise being crafted as flavors the founders themselves enjoy quaffing.

Along with contributing annually to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the brewers contribute to local fund-raisers and events, donating to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, among others. The founders both continue to work as firefighters as well as brewing up craft beer.

So sound the alarm: personally crafted, packed with natural flavor, layered tastes and refreshing finishes, these brews are worth noticing – and tasting.

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