Friday, February 17, 2012

Preview: Lucky Lab Barleywine Festival 2012

[Editor's Note: I'm happy to add Pub Night stalwart Lindsey -- developer of It's Pub Night's Six-Pack Equivalent Calculator Android app -- to our ever-expanding roster of guest writers.  Thanks, Lindsey!]

On Saturday I had the distinct pleasure to represent It's Pub Night at an exclusive event for Portland beer glitterati: taste testing the beers for the Lucky Lab's upcoming Barleywine Festival. Beyonce and Jay Z were there. Jay even had their new baby in one of those front facing slings. True story.

The 2012 Barleywine Festival will be held next Friday and Saturday, March 2nd and 3rd, 2012, at the Quimby Street Lucky Lab, from noon to 10 PM both days.  It's one of the more relaxed festivals in town, and the early Friday opening gives you a great opportunity to beat the crowds if you can make yourself free that day.  Since it's held right in the pub, food, water, and seating are all abundant.

Many of the barleywines at the festival are vintages from previous years, stashed away in the Lab's vaults.  Because the kegs are stored over long periods of time, each one has to be tested to make sure they are still drinkable. That was our job. Unfortunately two or three didn't fare so well and will get dumped.

I recorded 27 different beers and there will likely be a few more vintage editions plus a selection of new beers, which weren't on hand to try.  While no beer is older than '07, each day of the fest will feature a changing set of vertical tastings whenever possible.

Here are a few of my standouts -- you should try them if you attend the festival:
  • '11 North Coast Old Stock: very nice and quite sweet
  • '10 Ninkasi Critical Hit: mellowing nicely but still hoppy
  • '09 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot: aging nicely but still has a nice hop presence
  • '10 Anchor Old Foghorn: a longtime favorite of mine didn't disappoint
  • '09 Salmon Creek Brother Larry: a nice and mellow trippel
  • ?? Terminal Gravity Bucolic: well-balanced hop presence
  • ?? Three Creeks Brewdolph: very nice Belgian
  • '11 Anchor Old Foghorn: "oh f*** yes"

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