Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Winter warmer still required
Winter returned to Ireland this week. After a brief period of Spring warmth a cold front has come crashing into this small island nation and generally we don't cope terribly well with this sort of thing. I could complain about this I suppose - the walk to work is that bit more challenging, but instead I decided to counter the near sub zero temperatures with a toasty 'Barley Wine Style Ale'. This politically correct nomenclature is no doubt due to a pedant's confusion over exactly what is in the bottle. On this side of the Atlantic this beer is merely a barley wine. If my memory serves me well I recall reading that Old Foghorn was one of the first strong ales to be produced in America when Anchor Steam started producing craft beer. Perhaps this explains why it is more like an English barley wine that the super IBU versions that are best typified by Sierra Nevada's Big Foot. I much prefer Old Foghorn because it has a wonderful soft dry hop aroma and flavour without any of the intense bitterness in other American barley wines. It is lush and chewy with wonderful sweet sugary malt character, little of the 8.8% is betrayed in the body which is pleasant and not overly viscous. This beer was one that jumped out at me from the pages of the glossy beers of the world books I loved to read a few years ago realising at the time that there was almost zero chance of finding the beers in Ireland. I think it was talked up quite a bit and also was quoted as coming in a nip bottle which I thought rather quaint, but this bottle is a full 355ml American bottle measure which is all the better because it is wonderful stuff.