Saturday, April 23, 2011

Schlafly Reserve Barleywine Style Ale (2008)

Both Clare and I have some very good friends who live in St. Louis.  I first met them the day before my wedding.  I was at the hotel and I got onto the elevator with his couple.  They looked at me and asked, are you Keith?  I said yes, and they said, this is for you and Clare, handing me a six pack of Schlafly Pale Ale.  For me, it was the start of a wonderful friendship with two amazing people.  It was also my first opportunity to try Schlafly beers. 

Ever since then, I look for Schlafly beers whenever I go shopping for beers. For some reason, which I still cannot figure out, I cannot find their regular offerings, such as the Pale Ale.  However, every once in a while, I can find their special offerings in local beer stores.  Most recently, I came across Schlafly's Barleywine-Style Ale.

This ale is very much like a wine in that it has its own vintage, which is released each November.  The beer I got to try was brewed in 2008.  To brew thise beer, the brewer used Marynka, Northdown, and Tettnang hops, along with 2 row malted barley, Munich and caramel malts, as well as roasted barley.  Once brewed, the beer is aged three months in a fermenter before being transported to American-made, oak barrels that have been toasted to the brewer's specifications.  The beer ages in these barrels for another three months.

The Barleywine-Style Ale pours a nice copper color, with a good off-white foam.  The aroma prominently features the malts, along with some subtle hop notes, wrapped around alcohol.  (This ale does have an ABV of 10.2%.)  The taste of the beer includes highlights of caramel, toffee and, to a limited extent, some raisins.  The aging of this beer in oak barrels has definitely contributed some liquor notes. 

It is fairly difficult to pair barleywines with food.  The smoothness of the beer pairs well with a sharp cheese, such as a gorgonzola cheese or a blue cheese.  Beers such as this one are probably best by themselves, as a digestif after a great meal. 

Overall, this is one of the best Barleywine Style Ales that I have ever tasted.  Schlafly did an excellent job of producing a nice beer that can be enjoyed sip by sip.  The Schlafly Reserve Barleywine-Style Ale is available at stores that have a wide range of craft beers, like Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits and Rodman's.  It sells for about $15.99 a bottle.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So glad you can enjoy Schlafly beer in MD. Hope we can bring you more on another visit.

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