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Barleywine Fest

Last night we went to the Toronado to visit with Ian and have a few barleywines, since it was the barleywine festival and all. But as it typically happens during one of these big festivals, Ian was too busy serving $1.00 tasters of barleywines to these pseudo-beer-geeks (who didn’t seem to tip well at all), which made it difficult to order a round of beer, let alone talk to Ian for any length of time.

Since it was a festival, the usual cast of characters were there: the group from Magnolia Brewing, Dave and Jennifer (the owner and his girlfriend), Nico Freccia from Celebrator Beer News and a ton of people who I see at every special event. It was nice to see Stu at the bar again… he was released from the hospital last night. His hair was green, his Guinness was black and the pins sticking out of his shoulder were a bloody shade of gun metal (long story, we’ll tell you about it later).

So we spent the night talking to Todd and Tad (who showed up for a quick pint) and drinking our beers. Janet got one of those 30oz buckets of Hoegaarden White. I decided to go on a barleywine kick. My tasting notes follow:

  • Alaska Brewing Co. – Old Growth What a strange little beer. It smelled of pine trees (they brewed it with spruce tree tips), tasted of strawberries and had the kick of a small mule. A fantastic barleywine.
  • Broken Drum – Percussion Eh. Nothing special. Passable.
  • Lagunitas – Brown Shugga A favorite… candy-sweet and potent as hell.

  • Stone House Brewing – Old Mjolnir Dangerously drinkable. Dark, strong and not too sweet. I’d get this again, if I had a chance.

Since Barleywines are so strong and sweet, I needed something to wash them down, and a De Koninck did the job perfectly. I would have had a taste of the Barley and Hopps 1995 Big Head Barleywine (which closed last year due to the smoking prohibition at their brew pub) or the aged in bourbon-barrel Hair of the Dog Batch 29, but the three gallon keg ran out within a few hours of its tapping.

We’ll be back on Saturday to sample the few remaining barleywines, so expect a Sunday night update.

Posted in The Barfly Chronicles.

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