Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March Fairfax beer roundup

It wouldn't be appropriate for me to just let the local brewfest pass unnoticed here, but no, we actually didn't go this year. We are, however, hooked enough into the local beer scene that we got to hear all about how empty it was on account of the sketchy weather and 101 northbound being closed due to a 30-car pile-up, and how the anarcho-syndicalist leanings of the the townsfolk meant that the appearance of the local real estate tycoon's name on the tasting glasses created quite a frothy stir, and how all the beers were just kind of okay this year, and how all the booth workers got totally tossed, and how oh, did you get to try that new one from Iron Springs? Well, no, no we hadn't. So it was down to the pub for a taste of the new oak-aged barley wine.
This is the beer they should have served at Toronado's barley wine festival this year. It was great to see their name on the big board at the fest regardless - getting a tap there is considered quite the coup - but this newer version of the beer is something wholly new and special.
It's no mystery that I'm a sucker for oaked beers - especially when that oak has been soaking in bourbon for a while. My love affair began with Allagash's Curieux, and I dare say that the oaked Barstow-Lundy is in the same league. It's complex in that it's soft on the palate while being prickly in all the right places, warming from its hints of bourbon heat, but not aggressively alcoholic or cloyingly sweet (it kicks in at around 8% abv). It's only available at the pub on tap, and in limited quantities. Perfect for a not-quite-yet-spring-even-though-the-calendar-says-so evening. Kudos to Mike and Coley for possibly their best creation yet - one can only hope for more forward-thinking experimentation in the brewhouse. It is Fairfax, after all...


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