I love Barley Wines. Fact. They're my second favorite style of beer behind Imperial Stouts (yes I'm an extreme beer lover, what of it?) This blogpost was inspired by one I drank last night to tell the truth. I was drinking Anchor Old Foghorn last evening and was thinking.... this is so good, I want more of this sort of thing over the next few days! Anchor Old Foghorn is one of my most favourite. Not only because the beer tastes awesome, but because it has a great story behind it too: The year was 1975, and the owner and head brewer of Anchor Brewing Company, Fritz Maytag, took a trip to England to gain some inspiration for some new beers. On said trip, he did not find many traditional techniques but more rather, conventional brewing techniques. He'd never even heard of the style 'Barley Wine' before and wanted to know as much about it as he could. Indeed nothing at the time resembled it in the U.S. and at that time he was keen to jump on board the Barley bandwagon.
Once back in the U.S. he produced his first batch of Old Foghorn in November 1975, and it was later bottled after many months of dry hopping, in the spring of 1976. Many people will say that this was officially the first Barley Wine to hit the U.S. market, and while it took a bit of time for people to come round to it, it soon became a very prominent style in the U.S.
So tonight I decided I wanted more Barley Wine beer. I remembered I just bought a new bottle of the stuff not too long ago, and it had been waiting patiently in my room! :) It's not a new beer to me, but it's a new batch of beer. It's none other than Hardknott's 2010 Barley Wine - Granite!
The flavour is intense but not overpowering. You get an initial sweetness with a big alcohol presence behind it. (10.1%) There's good caramel apple flavours, really smooth sweet malts amongst a burnt toffee edge and a hint of treacle in there too. A real big alcohol zing/zest/tangy-ness comes though on the swallow, which leaves just enough bitterness to make you want more.
It's a really nice beer. Different but similar. My only problem with it is that Dave only delivered on case of the stuff to us, and that went out of stock a long time ago. So I think I can speak for everyone when I say... "Please Dave, can we have some more??"