Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Barleywine Notes from Last Year

Going through a bunch of paperwork and mail that had piled up on my desk for a year or so, I found the program from 2007's Barleywine and Big Beer Fest at the Lucky Lab. Actually the program calls it a "Tastival". Let's hope people stop using that word this year. I wasn't blogging at the time, but I scribbled my usual short and incoherent notes on the program. It's alarming how many of these huge beers I claim to have tasted -- we must have been sharing sips around the table, which I think consisted of Lindsey, Corey, Brett, and me.

Anyway, since this year's Ta... Festival is about a month away, and since I was just gushing about Old Yeller, it was interesting to look at the old notes. Indeed, Old Yeller seems to have been a favorite, given these remarks:
  • Lucky Lab: 2002 Old Yeller: Textbook. Nice.
  • Lucky Lab: 2004 Old Yeller: Better. Coffee/Chocolate.
  • ...
  • Terminal Gravity: 2005 Barleywine: Best so far. Oops, Lucky Lab better.
But it looks like I changed my mind at least one more time. The only entry I put a star beside was:
  • Rogue: 2004 Old Crustacean: Good stuff. Hops & brown sugar.
I'm guessing the star means it was my favorite, but there's no guarantee. In fact, my memory was that the Pelican Grand Cru was the beer that impressed me the most that day. Other beers that made a favorable impression were:
  • Anderson Valley: 2006 Beer of the Horn: Yes. But very sweet.
  • Raccoon Lodge: 2005 Barrel-Aged Old Yarleywine: Good. [Crossed out: "Textbook."]
  • Sierra Nevada: 2004 Bigfoot: Nice hoppy.
  • Sierra Nevada: 2005 Bigfoot: Ditto.
  • Tuck's: 2005 Glutius Maximus Barleywine: Good.
  • Caldera: 2003 Russian Imperial Stout: Good times.
  • Caldera: 2005 Russian Imperial Stout: Better times. Spiced.
  • Lagunitas: 2005 Brown Shugga: Better than fresh.
  • Pelican: 2006 Grand Cru: Very nice. Dark color. Tasty.
Mmmm... Caldera. As we were sipping Abyss last week, Dave and I were reminiscing about Caldera Imperial Stout. Sometime in 2004 we discovered that delicious thing on tap at William's on 12th, a bistro in the neighborhood that has since closed down. It was the first I'd heard of Caldera, but what a great way to get introduced. The imperial stout was so delicious, pitch black, with a big, dark head. Anyway, the other day we were trying to remember how well it would compare with Abyss -- pretty well, I suspect. A couple years of it are on the list for this year's Festival, I can't wait to refresh my memory.

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