Woolly Bugger Barley Wine – 2014 Limited Edition – Howe Sound Brewing, Squamish, BC

I want to start off and say that this 75 IBU, 10.5 % ABV craft beer is delicious after being aged for nearly a year and a half.

I first bought this beer back in early 2015. As a fan of Howe Sound Brewing craft beers, I knew that I had to pick it up. I’ve tried Barley Wines prior to this and do like them. I wanted to try one that Howe Sound brews.  I also have to admit that the bottle itself had one of the nicest designs I’ve ever seen. As an outdoor enthusiast in addition to being a craft beer fan, I liked the story it had to tell.

The description says that it’s “A rich, malty barley wine-style ale, with an intense depth of flavour. Named for the Woolly Bugger wetfly or streamer which is fished under the water surface. It is widely used for both freshwater and saltwater fish and is generally considered to be one of the best to have in any fly box”.

I also liked the illustration of an outdoor enthusiast fishing in an unnamed and from what I presume, a BC stream. It makes me think that this would be a perfect sipping beer to warm up with next to a campfire after a long day of fishing. So, it was something I could relate to.

As for the beer itself, I was very impressed with this English Style Barley-wine. I would say it`s very complex and well balanced. Hints of chocolate notes, hop bitterness, hop sweetness, malty and warm…. Nice aromatics. The ingredients include pale, crystal, cara, chocolate and special B malts. Hops include nugget, fuggles and golding. Ale yeast is used too. Awesome job Howe Sound Brewing. I give this nicely crafted beer 5 out of 5.

By Adam Leavitt