Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Hardest Liver To Liver '11

Ahoy True Believers! So being about 4 months behind on the blog; nevermind the Christmas Mule, moving into Beer Lab, and "Hey, hey, now I can afford to brew me own beer!" - I'll jump into 2011 with a bit on our Brouwers' Cafe Hard Liver Barley Wine Festival ex-beer-ience. Went down on Saturday to judge (thanks Bonney!), which was pretty cool. Sat with Megan from Beer West and Brandon (a local beer Illuminati) for our evaluations. Good times had by all; just a few "not so much" beers on hand. The big problem (as if) were beers with just a bit of a nasty chloro-phenol thing happening, which I attribute to overuse of a certain hop variety. Not that the specific hop variety is important, but using too much of any hop can lead to some "challenging" flavors. Anyway, sat at the bar for lunch with Mr. K & Mr. S, and had a nice time tasting and talking trash (lots of trash talked) waiting for the judging results. Seemed to take a looong time, but we ended up with '10 Anacortes "Old Sea Bass" taking 1st (deservedly so; perfect malt character, just a tad sweet, low hops with a nice port wine-like finish), '09 Anderson Valley "Horn of the Bear" taking 2nd (a bit too candyish/strong Imperial IPA for my taste), and '10 Glacier Brew House Old Woody (full bodied with big maple/vanilla "rested on wood" flavors) taking 3rd. Very nice indeed. Had a hearty bowl of potato soup for lunch and managed to escape without blacking out. I thank you.

Went back down on Sunday, with me Sweetie, for a few. That Anacortes beer is simply wonderful. Showed the best among the 30-odd Barley Wines we managed to get to. Interesting balance across the lot; for the most part very hop forward, just a few seemed to firing on all cylinders. We liked the Rogue '08 Old Crustacean and the '09 Speakeasy Old Godfather the best; both very nice, with firm malt flavors finishing just a bit sweet, big rosy alcohol flavors, and pleasant hop character, with the Rogue beer leaving the palate with a big resinous hop note. Very, very nice indeed.