By Jay Brooks
Saturday, November 14th, 2009 at 10:17 pm in On Beer.
Today in Hayward, California, the Bistro held their 4th annual Barrel Aged Beer Fest, serving a record number of beers for any festival they’ve thrown, with over 70 beers. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for drinking extreme beers and there were some wonderful examples there. While I wasn’t able to try them all, here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order:
- Bear Republic Blackberry Grizz: Slightly sour nose but the tart blackberries really come through wonderfully to pair with rich malt.
- Lagunitas Crusin’ with Ruben & the Bretts on Cherries: An oh-so-smooth imperial stout finished off with cherries the final three months. Chocolately with tart cherry flavors. Just delicious.
- Marin Old Dipsea Barleywine Arne Johnson’s barleywine tasting as good as ever.
- Fifty Fifty Imperial Eclipse Stout 2008 on Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrel: One of the best imperial stouts I’ve tasted on a long time, the barrel flavors are pitch perfect.
- Avery Voltron: A blend of five different barrel aged beers, so good they probably could defend the universe like its cartoon namesake, Voltron.
- Black Diamond Imperial Porter: This may be brewer Derrick Smith’s best beer to date. Brewed with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans, the nose is all milk chocolate. With complex spicy flavors that mix well with the overall chocolateyness (not a real word) of the flavor profile, this is a terrific beer for sipping by a warming fire. It reminds so much of hot chocolate for adults, that now I’m curious if you could mull it like Unibroue’s Quelque Chose.
- Sierra Nevada Scotch on Scotch: Sierra Nevada continues to impress with their range of different experimental and special beers. This Scotch “wee heavy” was aged in a Glengoyne Scotch barrel to give it amazing complexity. A true sipping beer.
- Moylan’s Wet Hopsickle 2009: A fresh hop beer aged in a Chardonnay barrel. The oak and Chardonnay notes work really nicely with the strong hop character to create some very unique flavors.
- Russian River Consecration: One of my favorites of the newer Russian River beers, though Supplication was tasting pretty good, too.
- Valley Brewing Bourbon Barrel Old Inventory Barley Wine: Steve’s award-winning barley wine, still tasting great.