Quickly now, before the sun comes back out
Stop right there. Calmly step away from the cooler, and keep your hands where I can see them. Now without any sudden movements, put down the Bitburger Pilsner and Hoegaarden. It may seem like spring has already been underway for weeks, but that suggestion would leave you bereft of one of the last great pleasures of wintertime: an excellent, well-aged barleywine. Thankfully, there's still some rain and gloom in the forecast, so pull out a nice piece of stinky blue cheese, some fatty, salty salumi and check this out:
Billed as Des' top choice (of the ones we got to choose between) at the 2007 Toronado Barleywine Festival, the good people at North Coast Brewing are offering the 2005 Old Stock ale as a cellar release - and they'll even ship it to you if you're in California. It's a stunner of the style, and if you bought a four-pack of it when it hit the shelves two years ago, you're amongst the rare and dignified if you managed to preserve a bottle or two for vintage's sake, so now you can redeem your gluttony, refill your supply, kick back with Tennyson and guiltlessly open one up as a toast "'gainst the winter's balm" while waiting out the last of Demeter's wrath. And then spring can officially begin, lhude sing cuccu and all that jazz.