From Toronto Ontario’s Mill Street Brewery comes their 2012 Vintage of their “Barley Wine” a beer I have had in my cellar for 2 Years and 5 Months give or take a few days. The beer pours a cloudy ruby red with a light brown head. The aroma consists of deep dark fruits, sweetness and caramel. The flavour is of earth, dark fruits, sweetness, anise, toffee, malts and mild bitterness. This beer has tons of body and is impossibly smooth. The alcohol content comes in at 11.5%. The alcohol content is so well hidden that little to no warming is present. This was a very good beer fresh but it has really upped its game with some aged. If you have a bottle in your cellar this is a good time to crack it open!
Commercial Description: Barley Wines are traditional winter brews that originate from England. These robust ales are long-aged and can be enjoyed for years to come. English and Canadian malts, aromatic hops and careful ageing in whiskey barrels make our Barley Wine a complex and multi-facetted gem.
From Portland Oregon’s Burnside Brewing comes their “2012 Whiteout Port Barrel Aged Barleywine” a blended barleywine with a portion of 2012 whiteout aged in port barrels then blended with some young 2013 whiteout. The beer pours a reddish brown with an off white head. The aroma consists of port, dark fruits, semi sweet cherries, mild tartness and some malts. The flavour is of port, dark fruits, cherries, mild tartness, big malts, hops bitterness and some mild warming. The beer comes in at 10% alcohol with an IBU of 55. This barleywine is amazingly different and I would love to have a few more bottles to age! This release was limited to 2136 total bottles.
Commercial Description: With Golden Promise, Crystal and Honey malts, flaked oats Centennial and Meridian hops. The 2012 Whiteout was aged for a year in Port barrels that were used to age Big Bottom Whiskey, and then blended with a portion of young 2013 Whiteout.
From Portland Oregon’s Cascade Brewing comes their “Strawberry (2012 Project)” an American wild ale or sour ale. The base beer for Strawberry is a Wheat Ale. The beer pours a very cloudy orange colour with a white head. The aroma consists of mild strawberries, wheat and mild tartness. The flavour is of tart strawberries, sour, wheat, oak and yeasty notes. The alcohol content comes in at 7.1%. This is not anywhere as powerfully sour as most Cascade beers. This is an amazing sour to be consumed on a patio in the summer!
Commercial Description: This NW style sour is a crisp, refreshing wheat beer that was barrel-aged for seven months then additionaly aged with strawberries for another eight months. Bright, sweet strawberries and light candy notes greet you in the nose. A light tartness and berry sweetness intermingle on the palate, giving way to a light, sparkling fresh berry tartness in the finish. It is better as a breakfast beer or a dessert? You decide.
From Brooklyn New York’s Brooklyn Brewing comes the “Black Ops” a Russian Imperial Stout from 2012 that does not exist. It is a Ninja and you are not reading this! But if you did believe that this beer did exist this is what you would see. This beer is aged in Bourbon barrels for 4 months flat and then they re-ferment it with Champagne yeasts. The imperial stout pours a black opaque colour with a brown head. The aroma consisted of roasty malts, vanilla, bourbon, fruits, oak, coffee and marshmallows to finish. The flavour is of dark fruits, roasty malts, vanilla, bourbon, oak, tartness and some marshmallow. The alcohol content would come in at 10.5% if this was a real beer. If I actually believed this was a real beer then I would say that it was amazing especially after a full year of aging.
Commercial Description: Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a strong stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. The myth is that this supposed “Black Ops” was then aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast. Presumably such a beer would raise a rich, fluffy dark brown head and it would combine chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like bourbon notes. A beer like that would be mighty nice, but it would be hard to make more than few cases – it could never be sold or released to the public. They say that the brewmaster revealed the beer to a few other people at the brewery only after it had been barreled. The rumor going around is that the brewery plans to drink the beer themselves over the holidays and give some to their family and friends. That’s what they say. But frankly, there’s no evidence for any of this. This beer is obviously a figment of people’s fervent imaginations. People tend to get loopy around the holidays. Everyone go home now – there’s nothing to see here.
From Marentino Italy’s LoverBeer comes their “BeerBera” a 2012 vintage bottle. This beer is a spontaneously fermented beer that has no yeast added into the brew. The beer pours a deep cloudy red with no head. The aroma consists of sweet cherries, oak and an overall tartness. The flavour is of sweet cherries, grapes, tartness, oak and a mild hint of malt vinegar. The alcohol content comes in at 8% but it is not at all present in the taste. This sour ale is a very well crafted beer and is amazingly drinkable.
Commercial Description poorly translated from Italian: “Fresh, vinous and fruity on the nose, qualities that are confirmed in the palate and which reveal a close bond between the world of the beers to spontaneous fermentation and the wines. Challenge very successful that gives us a original beer and courageous, and especially user-friendly, despite the high alcohol content, thanks to an appropriate body “watery” .” – Lorenzo Dabove, better known as Kuaska
Food Pairing as per brewery: strong cheeses, cold meat and salmon.