Barley Wine season is upon us, and while it’s not for everyone, those who do love it are rightly obsessed. With an incredibly high alcohol content and a sweet texture, Barley Wine is the perfect drink to pair with the holidays, and some are definitively better than others.
Here are a few BC Barley Wines worth drinking (or cellaring) over the holidays:
Driftwood Brewing- Old Cellar Dweller
Hands down Old Cellar Dweller is the Barley Wine I most look forward to every season. It’s 11.4% and shows huge malt body, with notes of caramel and toffee, complemented by ample hop bitterness to support it. When young, it is a hoppy treat with plenty of citrus and pine; cellared for a few years and Cellar Dweller gracefully ages into a rich, round reward for patience, hinting at flavours of tawny port.
Central City- Thor’s Hammer
No other Barley Wine in the province comes close to the amount of awards that Thor’s Hammer has won, it’s truly remarkable how consistent this Barley Wine is year after year. Matured for nearly a year, this barley wine is mahogany in colour and crafted from fine barley malt exuding deep, rich notes of dried fruit, plum and candy with a walnut ester.
Howe Sound Brewing- Wooly Bugger
Another award winning Barley Wine from the west coast, this one is deep mahogany in colour with complex malt character. Hints of treacle, toffee, plums and raisins run throughout.
Persephone Brewing- Barley Wine
At 11.9% this is nothing to sneeze at. Aroma of cherries, plums and molasses with a rustic herbal hop character. A strong dark ale, this beer is brewed with an absurd amount of malt which gives it a toasty flavour and a pleasant alcohol warming.
Steamworks Brewing- Scarlet Red Rye Ale
One of the newest Barley Wines of the bunch, this one happens to have spent months laying in Woodford Reserve rye barrels with plenty of rye character from the previous resident & a healthy dose of oak notes from the barrel; it’s perfect for slowly sipping on rainy days.