Saturday, April 9, 2011

Barleywine, Best Bitter and a Barrel of ESB.

This is a Woolly Bugger.
So is this.
And so is this, Howe Sound Brewing's Woolly Bugger Barleywine.

For those of you not aware, Barleywine is a style of beer that's usually high-alcohol, high-intensity, and with a specific gravity resembling that of the core of a gas giant. For many beerthusiasts, it's the Holy Grail of beer because you can cellar it much like you would a fine wine, thus giving you ammunition against sniffy oenophiles who might look down their nose at you when you bump into them at the till.

But then, we beerthusiasts have many Holy Grails. Honestly, it's like Crazy Pope Benedict IX's holy relic fire sale around here. You've got your fresh harvest ales, your sour ales, your giant biblically named bottles (jeroboam and up), your double and triple IPAs and then there's the scramble to touch your cup to any cask that gets tapped like it was the pierced side of Jeebus.

Anyways, lets leave the Woolly Bugger for a mo' and talk about the re-jigging of Moon Under Water's excellent beers.

Moon Under Water is a nice place to visit. That may sound like a bit of a low-powered compliment, but it's true: it's a nice, warm pub without the cacophonic clatter you normally find at your usual happenin' joint. I'm pleased to report that whatever fiddling they did with the Blue Moon Best Bitter enhanced the malts a bit, but left it still a comforting, companion-like beer that's the perfect partner to a heaping helping of toad-in-the-hole. I hope this doesn't offend the brewer in any way, but he's basically created beer slippers.
And you can now take it home. Unlike hoppier, punchier beers like Driftwood's Fat Tug IPA, Blue Moon loses little (if anything) in the bottle, and it should quickly become a fridge staple.

Speaking of Driftwood, I very nearly missed their Naughty Hildegard cask at the Beagle yesterday. The usual work-related SNAFUs saw me race in, grab a pint and then scurry out.
Driftwood does nothing to their casks other than just take them off the main tank, but there is a subtle difference when compared to their bottles, so I was curious to see if Hilde's character was any different fresh out of the convent, so to speak. If anything, she's a bit milder, but I have to say, I miss last year's floral nose-bomb a bit. On cask, I bet it'd rival Sartori.

But anyway, back to the Woolly Bugger. It's a tiny bottle, just big enough to share, the perfect ending to a day no fish would die.


  1. Good read!

    I had the Woolly Bugger a few weeks ago and it was everything I hoped it to be. I like how the glass on the right is twice as full as the other.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Oh holy crap, keep quiet! My wife never noticed I shorted her when I split it!