From Squamish BC’s Howe Sound Brewing comes the “Woolly Bugger Barley Wine” 2017 Vintage. After a few years of moving to a 650ml bottle Howe Sound Brewing has opted to move to a 750ml bottle for this beer. The beer pours a deep reddish brown colour with a tan head. The aroma consists dark fruits, almost cherry, caramel, some hops bitterness and a sweet finish. The flavour is of dark fruits, cherry, resin, citrus rind, toffee, caramel, bitterness and alcohol. The alcohol content comes in at 10.7%
From Squamish BC’s Howe Sound Brewing comes the “Woolly Bugger Barley Wine” 2016 vintage. Once again Howe Sound has released this beer in a bomber opposed to a smaller bottle. The beer pours a deep reddish brown colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of dark fruits, toffee, caramel, brown sugar and some hops. The flavour is of toffee, caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits, earth, mild chocolate, bitterness, some pine and of course alcohol. The alcohol content comes in at 11% with an IBU of 75. Woolly Bugger continues to be one of the best barley wines in the province and this year gives us a very tasty beer! I look forward to trying this against multiple vintages!
BC Beer Bloggers Local Winter Favourites – This special review is part of a multi-blog collaboration between five BC Beer Bloggers (including a guest from over the mountains in Alberta) where we each chose our top three local winter releases and are blogging about them. Please take a look at the bottom of this review for the other links to see all the beers we chose in no particular order and bookmark these sites so you can check them often.
West Coast Beer Geek
Winter beers are often higher in alcohol content and darker in colour. With higher alcohol content comes the opportunity to age beer and see how they change over time. With this in mind I got my hands on Howe Sound Brewing’s 2013 and 2014 vintages of their “Woolly Bugger Barelywine”.
When I poured both beer side by side I did notice that the 2013 was slightly lighter in colour although both were a dark chestnut colour. Much like the differences in colour the 2014 had a much more active and larger tan head than the 2013.
Woolly Bugger Barleywine 2013 Vintage
The aroma consists of dark fruits, big malts, caramel and molasses. The flavour is of dark fruits, big malts, caramel, molasses, some sweetness, pine and hops bitterness. There is a hint of alcohol but more present as warmth.
Woolly Bugger Barleywine 2014 Vintage
The aroma consists of dark fruits, sweet malts, caramel and some brown sugar. The flavour is of dark fruits, big malts including caramel, brown sugar, sweetness, hops bitterness and pine. This beer is still fairly hot with alcohol but it is still very drinkable. It is obvious that this beer was fairly fresh with the high alcohol content.
Both Vintages of this beer come in at a big 10.5% alcohol by volume and an IBU of 75. As both versions warm up the flavour builds and this is quite noticeable with the bitterness. With a year of aging this beer looses a big chunk of its boozy nature and the malts take over. Not every beer should be aged but when it comes to big winter ales like Barleywines it is almost better to buy a couple bottles and hold onto them for at least a year before consuming.
Commercial Description: A rich, malty barley wine-style ale, with an intense the depth of flavour. Named for the Woolly Bugger wet fly, one of the most effective and widely used patterns in fly fishing. Brewed with pale, crystal, cara, chocolate and special B malts, Nugget, Fuggles and Golding hops, water and ale yeast.
Food Pairing as per brewery: The malt & caramel flavours of this barley wine make it a great accompaniment with hearty meals and desserts and aged cheeses, nuts and winter specialties.
Awards for beer
2014 Bronze Medal in the North American Beer Awards
2013 Bronze Medal in the North American Beer Awards
2012 Gold Medal in the Canadian Brewing Awards
2011 Bronze Medal in the Canadian Brewing Awards
Participating Bloggers: be sure to check them daily, I’ll add in their links as they go up!
West Coast Beer Geek – A beer geeks perspective on craft beer, beer events, beer pairings and more.
Mike’s Craft Beer – Not for the weak of taste buds. Lots of great beer reviews, brewery reviews and events on this site.
Dennis the Foodie – Weaving a personal story of food and beer in Vancouver, BC. Very thorough food reviews, great photos and beer pairings.
Western Suds – An Alberta craft beer blog written by a craft beer enthusiast and ambassador for the growing Alberta craft beer scene.
Beer Rater – A beer guide without all the fluff, just some straight forward drinking advice.
How to stay tuned into what we are doing? Look for the hashtag #bcbeerbloggers as we will be using it a lot. Please engage us in conversations, enjoy our posts, try these beers and share our work if you like it.
My inspiration for this marinated steak was from the website food.com although there have been some additions. Find yourself a great butcher for your meat as it will taste that much better! I purchased my steak from Rio Friendly Meats in East Vancouver.
1 or 2 large Rib Eye Steaks (or your favorite steak)
1 Cup Woolly Bugger Barleywine or similar Barleywine
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large onion
1 Package of mushrooms
Depending on your favorite way to eat steak cook it on both sides as per your preference. My steak was around 1 inch thick and I like a steak cooked to medium so I cooked the steak at high heat for 6 minutes one side and 4 minutes the second side. Remove steak and onions and mushrooms and enjoy!
This steak has a good spice kick as well as a great barleywine malt backbone. Expect this steak to be very moist if cooked correctly. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. If you are using a bottle of Woolly Bugger you should have just enough beer left for a small sample to drink with your dinner!
From Squamish’s Howe Sound Brewing comes their Winter Seasonal the “Woolly Bugger Barleywine (December 2012)”. This beer was released in December 2012 and consumed in December 2012. Like all barleywines you have to take this beast seriously! The beer pours a deep redy/brown colour with an off white head. The aroma of the beer is filled with Sweet malts, caramel, grapefruit and hops. The aroma was described as very faint but interesting! The flavour consists of a malty sweetness, dark fruits such as prunes, caramel, citrus and a mild hops bitterness and a mild alcohol finish. Like many Barleywines this brew is low on carbonation. This barleywine has an alcohol content of 11% and an IBU of 75. The hops is well hidden in this brew.
Malts: Pale, crystal, cara, chocolate, special B
Hops: Nugget, fruggles, goldings
This beer was part of Mikes Craft Beer’s Barleywine Tasting. It was highly regarded by all tasters involved.