On tap at Blind Tiger, fine oak-aged 2017 blonde barleywine (with 11% ABV) retains lovely wildflower-honeyed vanilla spicing and coconut-toasted tropical fruiting. Tangy pineapple-peach-orange conflux, caramel-sweetened pale malts and boozy bourbon refrain douse vintage amber-hued dessert treat. Sugar cookie, banana liqueur, syrupy pear, butterscotch, toffee and marshmallow illusions add further luster.
On tap at Ambulance, less interesting Santa Vs. Unicorn variation utilizes dewy English yeast to affect molasses-sugared caramelized fruitiness, spicy bourbon tones, mild tobacco roast and subtle Nelson Sauvin-hopped white wining. Chocolate-covered raisin and cherry sweetness gains mildly vinous purple grape tartness at the finish.
On tap at Poor Henry’s, “hoppier Americanized barleywine” celebrates brewers’ one-year anniversary ale in mild style with tingly toned-down affectations. Soft whiskey tone slowly enveloped by moderate caramel-toasted toffee and coconut sweetness to contrast dry oaken vanilla snips. Just a shade thin.
On tap at Ambulance, provocative whiskey-barreled full body with dark brown-sugared chocolate spicing and bourbon vanilla dalliance boasts warming 10.8% ABV. Oaken wood-chipped whiskey influence enhances booze-soaked cherry, plum and fig subsidy to piquant chocolate truffle finish of richly silken dessert treat.
Understated English-style barleywine offers lovely toffee-spiced sweetness and butterscotch-candied sugaring to earthen hop astringency. But mildly boozy Scotch, brandy and sherry licks become slightly oxidized, causing lesser vanilla, praline and pecan niceties to falter.
On tap at Growler & Gill, complex booze-soaked barleywine offers heady oaken bourbon influence to caramel-burnt toffee, chocolate and maple molasses sweetness, contrasting light nut-charred hop bittering. Rum-spiced vanilla, cherry, marshmallow and toasted coconut illusions enjoin fruit-caked fig, apricot and plum undertones at the back end.
On tap at Growler & Gill, lovely cellar-aged Armageddon celebrator brings syrupy molasses fruiting and brown-sugared Graham Cracker sweetness to pungently bitter piney-hopped alcohol phenols. Honey-glazed peach, pear, grapefruit and orange tang usurps subsidiary cherry, raspberry, plum and raisin illusions to secure the juicy-fruited ambiance.
On tap at Shepherd & Knucklehead, ‘hoppier’ amber-hued Americanized barleywine allows sharp India Pale Ale fruiting to infiltrate barleywine-ish dewy malt sweetness and chewy caramel backbone while minor alcohol bite ascends at the dry-hopped grapefruit-peach-tangerine finish.
On tap at Amazing Grapes, rich wee heavy subtly aged in Scotch barrels (10% ABV) blends smoky brown chocolate malting with vanilla-spiced sweetness, subsidiary dried fruiting and dewy cellar-like mustiness.
Highly approachable Brit-styled barleywine lifts majestic caramel-malted chocolate molasses malts above candied dried fruiting and sugared spices in soft-toned manner. Subtle sherry, cognac and brandy illusions as well as light medicinal cherry tones further enliven chocolate-fruited delight. Latent red grape, hazelnut, pecan, fig, plum and raisin wisps remain in the distance.
On tap at Poor Henry’s, vintage strong ale (13.4% ABV) saturates mighty mocha fudging with bourbon-barreled sherry-port-cognac sweetness and caramelized molasses richness. Elegant bourbon chocolate pleasantry picks up latent candied fig, toasted coconut, plum wine and blackberry accents. A perfect mélange.
By blending an Imperial Red Ale and Red Double IPA with an American-styled barleywine, wintry “rainbowed chaos” turns up the sharp alcohol brashness (10% ABV) to saturate its IPA-like piney fruiting and toasted caramel malting. Sparkling orange-peeled grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine and mango tang and subtler cherry-fig-plum undertones receive resinous wood-lacquered coating.