We had a beer tasting on Saturday. Just a few mates sipping out way through a very impressive list of big beers. I brought along a few Italians as well as the Alliance beers from Thornbridge Hall, we had a few Geuzes, a Nøgne ø DH 2 – and a staggering number of American big beers.
I find it hard to blog from such events. The conversation is flowing, some good food, anecdotes from pubs and breweries, lots of good beer to discuss rather than taking notes.
The Alliance beers from Thornbridge Hall, a series of barley wines, the basic ale and two versions aged in oaks casks, Sherry and Madeira. The reference beer was complex, vinous and a bit rough around the edges. Funky stuff, this will probably age well without any oak cask. The Madeira version was a bit more sweet and fruity. Some over ripe fruit in the finish. The PX Sherry cask variety was also rather sweet with some dried fruit. Softer than the other two, deceivingly easy to drink. These were my last bottles from my order from beermerchants, delivered to my Manchester hotel in April.
This is not just another beer from just another English brewery – here is the label blurb: During 2007, an alliance based on friendship and love of great beer between Thornbridge’s Head Brewer Stefano Cossi and Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver led to the brewing of this refined strong ale which has been matured for over 18 months before being bottled. The collection includes the unoaked Alliance Strong Ale and two finished exclusively in fortified wine casks: Spanish oak Pedro Ximenez Sherry (PX) and American oak Madeira.
Weyerbacher Old Heathen was another outstanding beer.
And the most interesting – a 1982 Thomas Hardy. Wonderful harmonious beer, cherry and other fruit. Sweet, but with an edge of sourness. Probably past its prime, but it is amazing that a beer can keep for decades like this.