5 California Barley Wines to Drink Now
2. Green Flash Barleywine Style Ale 10.9%
Green Flash Brewing Co. (San Diego); Winter Release
Brewed since 2004
An updated, classic California barley wine, this bitter and sweet beer is widely available and much bigger than its Carter Administration predecessors. It tends toward toffee notes and has a viscous body with unmasked alcohol and a pleasant, dry finish. Do not make the mistake of drinking this one cold. Hold it in your palm while you argue with someone over whether or not they've actually seen a green flash.
1. Rhinocerous Barleywine-Style Ale 9.8%
Telegraph Brewing Co. (Santa Barbara); Limited Release
Brewed since 2009
This beer is an unconventional barley wine both because its release does not necessarily coincide with winter, and because it's more refreshing than other examples of the style. A champion of complexity. Look for varying levels of tartness in conjunction with caramel rye and dark fruit. The antithesis of hoppy barley wines so common to California, this beer is a great example of how brewers today are experimenting with the style.
We would have loved to feature these highly-acclaimed favorite barley wines if they were actually available anywhere. Don't miss the opportunity to try The Angel's Share from Lost Abbey (San Marcos), Sucaba from Firestone Walker (Paso Robles) and Old Numbskull from AleSmith (San Diego.) Look for all of these brews at Beverage Warehouse, Sunset Beer Co., and Select Beer Store.
And in somewhat related news:
- Q & A with Jeffers Richardson of Firestone Walker's Barrelworks: Live Ales, Oak Wine Barrels + California's Newest Beer Destination
- Ladyface Ale Companie Celebrates 3 Years as a Top L.A. Brewery
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