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Thursday, April 11, 2013


  In the latter part of the 18th century, England and France fell into a deep and bitter war that would not truly end until the Battle of Waterloo in June, 1815.  Remember that England has given birh to some of the world's greatest ales, including (but not limited to) porter, stout, imperial stout, scotch ale, red ale, and pale ale (Bass is the world's first pale ale).  Recall that France has long been revered as a mecca of the wine world.  As two nations at war do not have commercial relations, the British wine enthusiasts of the time decided they would rather go without than drink the elixir of their traditional enemy.  And, so, the Barleywine was born.  It is truly a beer, titled 'wine' only in reference to the product it was replacing.  Earthy, rich, bitter, and robust, these dark ales have become a favorite in the western world, where bitter is often better.  Please enjoy barleywine much the same as you would a good table red wine--conservatively, 6-8oz per serving, and don't be afraid to savor it.  Most barleywine is around 12% abv, so sipping gingerly will not detract from the more customary session beer experienence.  This will pair well with steaks, sausages, gumbo, chili--local favorites.  May I recommend Avery Brewing's Hog Heaven?  Other exemplorary barleywines would include Sierra Nevada Brewing's Bigfoot and Stone Brewing's current seasonal, Old Guardian.

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