Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Tuesday Tasting: A Bunch of Barleywines
Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we head to the Common Market in Charlotte to take part in a barleywine tasting as part of Charlotte Beer Week.
From the outside the Common Market on Commonwealth Ave. in Charlotte looks like the typical small grocery store that has disappeared from many American neighborhoods over the years. Once inside, however, you find a great selection of wines and beers to go along with an interesting array of foods. It was a unique setting for Charlotte Beer Week's barleywine tasting over the weekend. The folks at Common Market gathered a nice selection of 11 barleywines, including a trio of Brooklyn Monsters for a vertical tasting. Barleywine is one of those styles that attracts the curious and delivers a very nice high gravity experience.
My senses were dulled a bit by an allergy attack, but the barleywines cut through to offer some great flavors. Here's a round up of the brews tasted:
Avery Hog Heaven (9.2% abv): Golden color with a nice mellow flavor. Decent hops throughout with slight hints of fruit.
Bigfoot Barleywine (9.6 abv): This is a classic American barley wine. A thick and chewy brew with plenty of hops to go around. Perfect ending to a brisk evening.
Great Divide Old Ruffian (10.2% abv): An off gold color provides a full strong flavor that let's you know there is an alcohol punch. This is a beer that says what it is and delivers.
Heavy Seas Below Decks (11.0% abv): From Clipper City in Baltimore this brew starts off and finishes with plenty of fresh hops. There is a slight touch of tropical fruit in the finish.
John Barleycorn (9.5 percent alcohol by volume): From Mad River Brewing, this beer is a reddish gold color with a tan head. It is nicely hopped and a touch sour. An interesting approach.
Rouge XX Old Crustacean (11.3% abv): Cloudy brown and red, with a full hoppy flavor that you would expect from Rogue. Worth trying.
Mendocino Talon (10.5%): Tarnished copper color, this is a smooth and well balanced barley wine. It could very easily sneak up on you.
Weyerbach Blithering Idiot (11.1% abv): Light amber color, very nice hop aroma with a slightly tart flavor. This well balanced brew finishes dry. A highlight of any barleywine tasting.
Brooklyn Monster 2003: Somewhat cloudy, but still very amber. Still offers up fresh hops, but is overall mellow. The alcohol kick is gone, but that's OK.
Brooklyn Monster 2004: Clear gold color, nice malty flavor against the hops. Alcohol kick is present.
Brooklyn Monster 2006: Golden color, very much like a high gravity IPA based on the hops. Crisp with pronounced hops in the finish.