I know, I know… it’s, like, 1/2 way through January already, so what gives? Well, first off, I’m a very lazy man. Secondly, there was no clear beer to highlight for January, and Siren was just so very good that I figured I’d let it slide for a day or two… which became a week.
All that changed yesterday, when I visited Granville Island Brewing’s store to stock up on their Barley Wine for my cellar. Despite this release being rather limited at 360 cases, clearly visible in the brewery was a towering palette of unsold (and unwaxed) product.
Well sheet, that ain’t right. The single most ambitious beer ever produced by GIB cannot be allowed to sit unsold on the brewery floor. We have to encourage them to brew more barrel aged wonders, and about the worst way to do that is not buying the results. So, without further adieu, January’s Beer of the Month is Granville Island Brewing (Taphouse) Barley Wine.
Sure, there are better Barley Wines out there right now, but you know what? This is still a pretty damned good one, and one ideally tuned for some cellaring. I’m seeing a lot more talk on The Twitter about cellaring beer, and no self-respecting Vancouver-based beer geek should give this one a miss.
Plus, it’s a beer that is priced well below it’s quality and potential. At $7.95 a bottle, Granville Island is practically giving this stuff away. Buy some, drink it now, and buy a few to put down as an intro to cellaring.
Some beers only change slowly or subtlety, requiring a bit of experience and patience to figure out what’s going on, but not this one. Over a year or two, this beer will show all the restraint of meth-addled hooker who’s gone clean for three hours. No secrets, and it’s all out there for whomever wants to see it.
Want to see how yeast in-bottle affects a beer? It’s there. Want to see how malt-forward sugars blend together over time? Check. What about the slow hops decline? Sold. Bourbon- and barrel-flavours mellowing? It’s got that too.
If you’re curious, the following stores have stock: Big Ridge, Bimini’s, Brewery Creek, Burrard, Central City, Clayton, Crosstown, Darby’s, Firefly Cambie, Granville Street, Legacy, Sutton Place, Sunshine Hills, Toby’s, West End, and Yaletown. And, of course, the GIB Store.
Go forth and consume.